Dunedin businessman Sir Julian Smith KNZM OBE FInstD will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Otago this weekend.
Sir Julian, who studied accountancy at Otago in the 1960s, is chairman of Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times - this country's oldest surviving daily newspaper and the last independently-owned metropolitan paper in both New Zealand and Australia.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says Sir Julian's contribution to Dunedin and Otago, both in business and in his charitable work, is exemplary and he is a fitting recipient of an honorary degree.
“Sir Julian is a highly successful businessman and his contributions to the wider community, through his participation in a wide variety of national and local organisations and charities, reflect the values that Otago aims to encourage in its alumni.”
"Sir Julian is a highly successful businessman and his contributions to the wider community, through his participation in a wide variety of national and local organisations and charities, reflect the values that Otago aims to encourage in its alumni."
Sir Julian was knighted in 2013 for services to business and recognition of his leadership and involvement in a range of Otago businesses – foremost among them his family-owned newspaper business, where he was the fifth generation to take the helm when he joined the board in 1974.
Sir Julian remains as chairman of the business and continues his involvement in a variety of charities in the city, including chairing the Orokonui Foundation Trust, the Olveston Charitable Foundation and the Taieri Airport Trust. He is also a past president of the Otago Chamber of Commerce.
His involvement with the University of Otago began in 1962 when he started part-time study while working with local chartered accountants Brodrick and Chalmers.
Sir Julian took an enthusiastic part in student life including holding the role of secretary of the Commerce Faculty Students Association, contributing to capping activities, playing rugby and debating for the Faculty (now the Otago Business School).
His involvement with the University extended past his time as a Commerce student. Sir Julian met his future wife Beverley, Lady Smith, while at university – she later qualified as a physiotherapist and their three children all graduated from Otago.
Sir Julian's community involvement has ranged from sea scouts to the volunteer Army Reserve, where he served for a number of years as Honorary Colonel of the 4th Otago/Southland Battalion Group, and from vintage cars to the Otago Commerce Club and the Dunedin Club.
Sir Julian's honorary doctorate will be conferred at the University's 3pm Graduation Ceremony at the Dunedin Town Hall on Saturday.