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Top Lincoln University awards

‘Inspiration’ the basis for recipients of top Lincoln University awards

Services to business, science and the Latin American communities are recognised by Lincoln University with its top achievement awards announced today.

The awards – one honorary doctorate and two medals – will be presented at the University’s Graduation Ceremony on Friday 2 May 2014.

“It is a pleasure to honour three individuals with different backgrounds, but with the same ambition to make a significant difference for their respective communities,” says Lincoln University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Andrew West.

“Peter Townsend, current chief executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce has been an advocate for Canterbury businesses for many years. However it is his commitment to the business community following the Canterbury earthquakes that we award him with an honorary doctor of commerce.

“The recipient of the Bledisloe Medal, which was initiated in 1930 by former Governor-General of New Zealand, the late Viscount Bledisloe, is Professor Stephen Goldson; an excellent scientist, effective advocate for the applied sciences and a skilled communicator. He is a genuine leader in the scientific community and is highly respected in both the private and public sectors.

“The recipient of the Lincoln Alumni International Medal is a man who had a dedicated career to rural development and natural resources work in Latin American. Dr Michael Nelson spent much of his early work centred on the search for solutions to rural poverty and underemployment in tropical regions of Latin America.

“The Lincoln University Council was inspired by their passion, commitment and achievements and look forward to officially honouring them at Graduation in May.”

Mr Peter Townsend, CNZM, Honorary Doctor of Commerce: Since 1996 Mr Peter Townsend has been the Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, the largest business support agency in the South Island. His commitment to the business community as a platform for regional prosperity was most tested in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes. Following the September 2010 earthquake Mr Townsend spoke on behalf of business when he proposed the creation of an Earthquake Support Subsidy from government, to support the payment of wages to employees displaced from their workplace due to the earthquakes. Following the February 2011 earthquake the Earthquake Support Subsidy was reintroduced and increased. Part of the new post-earthquake approach included setting up Recover Canterbury, with the Canterbury Development Corporation and central government, to provide ‘a safe pair of hands’ for businesses by connecting local businesses to a range of support services to help them recover.

Professor Stephen Goldson, FRSNZ, ONZM, Bledisloe Medal: After completing his PhD in Entomology from Lincoln, Professor Goldson’s started his research career as an entomologist in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s Agricultural Research Division to work on the management of some of the country’s most damaging exotic pasture pest species (especially weevils). This led to 25-years of focused and well-supported, long-term ecological research. This work has led to very positive results and greatly reduced exotic pest impacts on New Zealand’s pastoral ecosystems. The economic benefits run into hundreds of millions of dollars per annum, but there are also on-going environmental benefits associated with reduced nitrogen pollution, and the avoidance of the use of synthetic pesticides. As Professor Goldson’s career developed, he worked increasingly hard to support, defend and promote the science needed for the future of this country. In 2009 he was recruited by Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the New Zealand Prime Minister, as his principal advisor, focusing particularly on agriculture and the environment.

Dr Michael Nelson, Lincoln Alumni International Medal: Lincoln University has had a long and varied association with the countries of Latin America. Among its University graduates is Dr Michael Nelson, originally from Havelock North and now of Wanaka, who dedicated a 45-year career to rural development and natural resources work in Latin America. From 1957 to 1988 Dr Nelson worked as an economist, senior economist and programme director in several organisations, including Stanford Research Institute in the US, Honduras and Argentina; Resources for the Future in Chile; Ford Foundation in Mexico; and the World Bank in Washington DC. For six years he headed the Division of Natural Resources at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America in Chile. From 1988 until his return to New Zealand in 2007 Dr Nelson worked on a voluntary basis for the Centre for Environmental Research and Planning in Santiago, Chile. In addition, as an independent consultant, he worked on environmental issues for various international agencies, primarily the World Bank, in Latin America and South-East Asia.

Ends

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