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First PhD graduand highlight of Spring Graduation

AUT’s first PhD graduand highlight of Spring Graduation Ceremony

Auckland University of Technology’s first PhD graduand will be capped at the University’s Spring Graduation Ceremony, this Friday, October 17 at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna.

Debbie Blake, who will graduate PhD in Science, is one of more than 500 graduands who will process from outside the Colmar Brunton building, the Strand in Takapuna at 10am. The route will take the graduands right into Hurstmere road, then left into the Promenade and on to the Bruce Mason Centre at 10am.

All faculties will be represented, with graduands from the Science and Engineering, Health, Business, Arts and Te Ara Poutama faculties being capped.

With two international patents pending and an already established research career with AUT research partner company Kiwi Ingenuity Ltd, Debbie says the risk of pursuing her studies at the fledgling University has paid off.

Before enrolling at AUT, Debbie Blake was in Sweden working as an embryologist for one of Europe’s leading fertility clinics where she met with Professor Stephen Henry (now Director of AUT’s Glycoscience Research Centre), who was visiting Gothenburg University. He convinced her to begin a PhD “at a small technical institution that had nothing to do with the study of In Vitro Fertilisation,” she says.

She decided to begin her PhD in reproductive technologies at AUT after talking to Professor Henry at length and weighing up her options, she says.

“I visited two universities in the USA and one in Australia and while their programmes were all of a high standard I decided AUT was the best choice.”

In all more than 1,100 graduands will be capped on Friday with those not attending graduating in absentia.

James Te Tuhai will be awarded an honorary Masters in Applied Science and Garry Tee will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate.


If the procession is cancelled due to bad weather, graduands are asked to ring the main AUT phone number (09) 917 9999 where a message will inform of any alternative arrangements. Cancellation will be of the procession only; the ceremonies will proceed as normal.

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