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University honours distinguished alumni


University honours distinguished alumni

Outstanding graduates of the University of Auckland, in fields ranging from international diplomacy to tax law, philanthropy, surveying and mapping and creative arts, will be honoured at a gala dinner this Friday (9 March).

The University will recognise four winners of Distinguished Alumni Awards and a Young Alumnus of the Year for their outstanding contributions to their professions, their communities, New Zealand and internationally.

More than 400 guests are expected to attend the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner in a pavilion on the lawn of Old Government House at the University’s City Campus. The winners will take part in the “Bright Lights” panel discussion event at the Grand Millennium Auckland the evening before.

The 2018 distinguished alumni are:

Jan Beagle, BA 1971, MA 1974

Jan Beagle is the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Management. Beginning her career in the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she has some 40 years of experience of multilateral diplomacy, working across the peace and security, human rights, development, management and gender sectors. She is a committed advocate for gender equality and is an International Gender Champion.

Jennifer Gill ONZM, DipTchg 1974, BA Well 1973
Education and Social Work

As CEO of Foundation North and after 20 years as a board member of Philanthropy New Zealand, Jennifer Gill is a champion of effective philanthropy, playing a leading role in the development of the sector. In 2017, she won the inaugural Perpetual Guardian NZ Lifetime Achievement Award in philanthropy and was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to philanthropy.

Robert McLeod, BCom Otago 1980, LLB 1983

Rob McLeod (Ngāti Porou) is a well-known New Zealand tax expert. He has sat on many Government advisory groups across a number of areas. He was chairman of the New Zealand Business Roundtable from 2002 to 2010 and, in 2006, he was awarded the University of Auckland’s Outstanding Māori Business Leader Award. He was CEO of EY Australasia from 2010 to 2014.

William (Bill) Robertson ONZM, DipTownPlan 1969, MPP Well. 1980, Hon DSurv Melb.1999
Creative Arts and Industries

Bill Robertson is a world-renowned figure in surveying and mapping. He was Director General/Surveyor General of the NZ Government Department of Survey and Land Information from 1987 until 1996 and a Director of Military Survey & Mapping for the NZ Army. He was President of the New Zealand Planning Institute and served two terms as President of the Commonwealth Institute of Planners.

Young Alumnus of the Year:

Luke Willis Thompson, BFA(Hons) 2011, MFA 2011, Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Frankfurt am Main, Germany 2015
Creative Arts and Industries

In 2014 Luke Willis Thompson was awarded the Walters Prize, the youngest artist to have received this prestigious accolade. Through his work the Fijian-New Zealand artist tackles challenging subject matter such as race, violence and power. Recently, he spent a year in London on a residency with the prestigious Chisenhale Gallery. He has been nominated for the 2018 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.


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