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Tēnā koutou and welcome to this Christmas edition of Otago Connection

Tuesday, 19 December 2017 1:42pm

Tēnā koutou and welcome to this year’s third and final instalment of the Otago Connection newsletter.

VC portrait image
Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne

This year is quietly drawing to a close, and what a year it has been for Otago. I hope you have enjoyed the updates of Otago life with the Connection newsletter, and have appreciated the range of exciting events and stories at our university in 2017.

The line of students on campus waiting to receive their graduation caps and gowns was a wonderful sight to see earlier this month. It reminded me of what a huge milestone our students have achieved in finishing their degrees. I am always incredibly honoured to be a part of the celebrations of their hard work and dedication, and with 10 graduation ceremonies a year, it’s one of my favourite parts of being Vice-Chancellor.

I also enjoy sharing the sense of pride I get when I look back through the achievements of our students and our university. This newsletter contains some of the highlights of our collective success both here in New Zealand and overseas.

In September, Otago University and Otago Polytechnic students worked together to hold the Silverline Wellbeing Festival, a weekend-long health initiative teaching students positive mental health. The range of speakers and topics covered was vast and complex, and showed the high standard of student support and diversity we have here at Otago.

We were proud to hold the Teaching Excellence Awards and celebrate some of our best teaching staff in October. The feedback our staff receive from their students is always welcome, and we strive to bring students the best learning environment and experts in their fields.

We have shared some wonderful stories about our students in the last two newsletters, and this instalment of Connection is no different. Students from our residential colleges showed their willingness to volunteer for and engage with the Dunedin community this year, and it has been wonderful to see the initiatives coming from students. We also celebrated Jean Balchin becoming a 2017 Rhodes Scholar; her prestigious scholarship will provide funds for her to study English at Oxford University in the UK.

I hope you will take the time to watch our annual Christmas video. This year, we were lucky to have the very talented Mia Sohnge perform her own arrangement of The First Noel. Mia is a first year student studying accounting and music and we are sure that her beautiful voice will see her performing for many others in the future.

Of course, 2018 is going to be another exciting, busy year, and we are pleased to welcome Dr Royden Somerville QC to the role of Chancellor of the University of Otago. We are extremely fortunate to have someone of his calibre in the role. We are sad to bid farewell to current Chancellor, John Ward, who has served this University so well for so many years.

I look forward to sharing more stories and highlights of Otago life with you next year.

I would like to thank all of our students and family community for your continued support of the University of Otago. I wish you a safe and happy Christmas and positive start to the New Year wherever you are in the world.

Professor Harlene Hayne