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Thousands attending Autumn Graduation

Thousands attending Autumn Graduation

Auckland’s biggest annual celebration of academic success will bring a festive feel to the central city this week when thousands of graduands and their supporters converge for the University of Auckland’s Autumn Graduation.

Around 6480 graduands will receive more than 6500 qualifications at ten ceremonies spread over three days (Monday 5 May, Wednesday 7 May and Friday 9 May). Graduation processions leave Princes Street at 9.30amon the three graduation days, proceeding on to Bowen Avenue, down Victoria Street East and up Queen Street to Aotea Square.

Among those taking part in this week’s festivities are an 80-year old, nine graduands who completed their degrees at just 20 years of age, 151 people who will have their doctorates conferred, and two people who are gaining three qualifications on the one day.

Around 750 Māori and Pasifika students will celebrate their academic achievement, among them the first Pacific woman to gain a PhD in Classics and Ancient History, and a young Māori man who has turned his life around through study and will graduate with a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts within the field of criminology.

Most students will graduate in person at the ceremonies in the ASB Theatre at the Aotea Centre, where the University’s Chancellor Dr Ian Parton and Pro-Chancellor Peter Kiely will confer the degrees and diplomas, although about 1500 will have their qualifications confirmed in absentia.

About 15,000 people have asked for tickets for the ceremonial occasions.

Speakers at the ceremonies include University of Auckland alumni Andrew Patterson, whose portfolio includes broadcasting, writing, public speaking and business commentary; Simon Mercep, television and broadcast journalist and presenter; Peter Rajsingh, teacher and international speaker; Sir Anand Satyanand, New Zealand’s first Governor-General of Indian and Pacific ancestry; Dr Lance O’Sullivan, New Zealander of the Year 2014 and Andrew Grant, leader of McKinsey & Company’s Global Public Sector Practice.

The free Graduation Gala Concerto Competition on Tuesday 6 May at 7.30pm is expected to pack out the Auckland Town Hall. Three School of Music student soloists, accompanied by the University’s Symphony Orchestra conducted by Uwe Grodd, will compete for a $5000 grand prize and there will be a special performance by the Auckland Chamber Choir conducted by Karen Grylls.

Our Top Four Graduation Stories
Marcia Leenen-Young – This young Samoan woman overcame numbing grief to finish her PhD in honour of her mother, who died during the completion of her thesis. She has added her mother’s name “Young” to her surname by deed poll. Marcia is the first Samoan woman to complete a PhD in Classics and Ancient History.
Shane Timmermans – A former gang member with drug and alcohol addictions who turned his life around through education and is graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in Arts within the field of criminology. He now helps others through his work with the Prisoners Aid and Rehabilitation Society.
Hana Turner – This fair-haired, blue-eyed woman of Maori descent discovered the true extent of stereotypical and racist attitudes within our schools when she surveyed teachers about their expectations for their pupils’ success. Graduating with a Masters in Education.
Ella Tunnicliffe-Glass (22) – a rare mix of music and science, Ella turned down a place at medical school to complete a conjoint Bachelor of Science (Psychology) and Music (Classical Performance). She has discovered links between perfect pitch and autism and is graduating with a Bachelor of Music (Hons). She begins a Masters of Philosophy at the Centre for Music and Science at Cambridge, having won a full-cost scholarship from 3,500 applications worldwide.


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