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Victoria awards honorary doctorate to economist

Internationally-acclaimed economist Professor Leslie Young – who completed three degrees before the age of 21– is to receive an honorary doctorate from Victoria University.
Professor Young will receive an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree at the University's graduation ceremonies later this year. He will be the first recipient of an honorary degree in Commerce from the University, the degree having been approved last year for introduction in 2003.
Professor Young came to New Zealand from China at the age of two. He grew up in Levin, where his parents were market gardeners, and attended Horowhenua College. At just 16, he came to Victoria as a Junior Scholar and completed his Bachelor of Science degree in two years but could not graduate under University statutes.
In his third year at Victoria he completed a BSc with First Class Honours in mathematics as well as a course in mathematical logic in the Philosophy Department. He was awarded five scholarships, including a Commonwealth Scholarship. While waiting to go to Oxford University in Britain, he completed a Master of Science degree with distinction in mathematics by August 1969.
Shortly after arriving in Oxford, his MSc supervisor, wrote to say that the external examiner had recommended his MSc thesis for a Doctor of Philosophy degree. However, Professor Young did not take this up because in his first year at Oxford he had already completed a different doctoral thesis – just before his 21st birthday – and was awarded a Senior Mathematics Prize by that University.
He became interested in economics after being introduced to Professor James Mirrlees, who in 1996 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics. Professor Young then took up a Junior Research Fellowship in Economics at Lincoln College, Oxford. He has also held academic positions in New Zealand and the USA.
Professor Young rapidly gained international distinction as an academic economist and was the longest-serving member of the editorial board of the American Economic Review. In 1992, he took up the position of Professor of Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Since 1993 he has also served as Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Institute of Business, whose scope and international standing have been enlarged under his leadership.
He has published more than 40 academic articles in leading international journals and his book, Black Hole Tariffs and Endogenous Redistribution Theory was published by Cambridge University Press with commendations by two Nobel Prize winners and by the Chairman of the Nobel Committee.
Professor Young retains a strong interest in New Zealand and Victoria, where he is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Economics & Finance and supports the development of Victoria University's programme for foreign students.
Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon said Professor Young had excelled at home and abroad and was a worthy recipient of an honorary doctorate. "Victoria University is delighted to acknowledge the contribution Professor Young has made not only to the fields of mathematics and economics but also to his alma mater."
Issued by Victoria University of Wellington Public Affairs
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