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Otago Awards Honorary Doctorate To Vice-Chancellor

19 May 2003

Otago Awards Honorary Doctorate To Vice-Chancellor

The University of Otago will this Saturday award the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws to Vice-Chancellor Dr Graeme Fogelberg in recognition of more than a decade of outstanding service to the University.

Dr Fogelberg will receive the honorary doctorate at the last graduation ceremony he officiates at before stepping down at the end of July. University Chancellor Lindsay Brown says the honour is a “most fitting tribute to a person whose visionary leadership of the University and strong commitment to its well-being have been demonstrated time and time again over the past 10 and a half years.”

“During his time as Vice-Chancellor, Dr Fogelberg has successfully led the University through a period of huge growth accompanied by massive change, and achieved this in the face of serious funding constraints and a very challenging external environment,” says Mr Brown.

Among Dr Fogelberg’s many achievements has been his stewardship in ensuring that the University “maintained a sound financial position over a decade which has seen costs increase at the same time as government funding has declined dramatically,” he says.

“Since 1992 the amount of government funding per equivalent full-time student in the tertiary sector has dropped 23 per cent. During his tenure Dr Fogelberg has not only consistently advocated for increased funding for New Zealand universities, he has also led Otago’s highly successful efforts to establish alternative income streams such as enhanced research funding and expanding the University’s commercial activities.

“As a result, the University is now the third largest research body in New Zealand in terms of the funding it attracts. Our success in obtaining research funding also includes consistently strong placings in ‘blue skies’ Marsden funding rounds, demonstrating that the University has at the same time remained true to its basic mission to create fundamental knowledge.”

As well as his strong emphasis on enhancing research performance, Dr Fogelberg’s vision of developing Otago as a university that enjoys world-class teaching and learning facilities has also borne fruit, says Mr Brown.

“Of the major campus developments that Dr Fogelberg has driven, the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the University’s award-winning Information Services Building (ISB), a hugely impressive facility praised by both students and staff, which probably boasts the best study and learning facilities in Australasia,” he says.

Other notable campus additions overseen by Dr Fogelberg include the St David Lecture Complex, the Centre for Innovation, the Physiotherapy building and the new Zoology building, he says.

2/… -2- As well as his drive to ensure the University enjoys the physical infrastructure necessary to move ahead as a leading teaching and research institution, Dr Fogelberg has also led Otago’s efforts in developing its human capital through the establishment of an advancement campaign reaching out to alumni and friends, he says.

Significant investment obtained through the campaign has already allowed the University to make several key appointments of knowledge leaders and to set up scholarships supporting knowledge creation and uptake, he says.

Another important initiative by Dr Fogelberg in the area of the University’s human resources was to establish robust processes for staff promotions and performance appraisal, to ensure that excellence in teaching, research and service to the University and community is properly recognised and rewarded, he says.

A prime example of Dr Fogelberg’s “excellent leadership and strong commitment” to the University, its students and graduates was his “highly tenacious and successful bid” to gain $13.6 million in compensation after a previous government’s “absolutely wrongheaded” cuts to dental school funding, he says.

“Overall, Dr Fogelberg has done an amazing job in leading the University through very trying times,” says Mr Brown.


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