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Graduation a family affair

15 December 2004

Graduation a family affair

Graduation is always a special time for family and friends and the University of Canterbury ceremony today will be particularly memorable for a number of family members who will graduate together.

Marian Baroni and his wife Mihaela will both graduate with PhDs in mathematics. The couple, who moved from Romania three and a half years ago to study at Canterbury, are among 37 students to receive their doctorates.

Maree Hemmingsen is receiving her PhD in geography and minutes later will watch her daughter Sarah receive her MA (with distinction). As top geography masters student, Sarah will be wearing the Eileen Fairbairn gown, which was previously worn by her mother.

Dr Beverley Lord, a lecturer in Accountancy, Finance and Information Systems, will be on stage to watch her husband and three daughters graduate. Ken will receive a BA (English and Russian literature), Anna a BA Hons (American Studies), Vicki a BA (Psychology) and Katie a BA (American Studies).

About 435 students from across all disciplines will be capped in the Christchurch Town Hall ceremony at 2pm. The Chancellor, Dr Robin Mann, will oversee proceedings. Noted historian, anthropologist and author Dame Anne Salmond will give the graduation address.

The University’s Research Medal for 2004 will be presented to Professor Robert Jackson from the School of Biological Sciences. The medal is awarded annually for excellence in research. Professor Jackson is a world authority on the evolutionary ecology of invertebrates and an internationally recognised expert on the behaviour of spiders.

Seven teaching awards will be presented to University staff for excellence in teaching achievement. The recipients are: Dr Andy Cockburn (Computer Science and Software Engineering); Dr Jon Harding (Biological Sciences); Dr Jennifer Hay (Linguistics); Dr Jessica Johnston (American Studies); Dr Wendy Lawson (Geography); Ms Tika Ormond (Communication Disorders) and Professor Peter Steel (Chemistry). Organisers are hoping for fine weather for the afternoon march through central Christchurch. The procession starts at 1.20pm at the Arts Centre’s Market Square and proceeds east along Worcester Boulevard, turning on to Oxford Terrace and through Victoria Square to the Town Hall. Alan Robb, lecturer in Accountancy, Finance and Information Systems, will be the esquire bedel leading the procession.

Graduation celebrations will continue tomorrow when the University holds its inaugural Pacific Graduation Dinner.

The celebration will be a semi-formal affair with 35 graduates, their families, staff, and the wider Pacific community gathering for an evening of cultural festivity. Special guests include Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs chief executive Fuimaono Les McCarthy, Tertiary Education Commission regional manager Ranui Ngarimu, and Senior District Court Judge Vui Clarence Nelson who graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1979.

Event co-organiser Paul Pati said that with a steady increase of Pacific Island students coming through the University it was high time to have a special event to acknowledge and celebrate the success of UC’s Pacific graduates.

“Such events are important for our community to be a part of. It is good for the younger students too, a means of encouraging them to keep on persevering with their studies,” Mr Pati said.


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