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University of Waikato celebrates Distinguished Alumni

A Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, a Māori Land Court Judge and a Singaporean design-agency owner are University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni for 2013.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour Waikato alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities. This year's awards were presented at a black-tie event in front of more than 160 guests by Chancellor Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford. Click here to view the photo gallery from the event.



Professor Marston Conder

Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, University of Auckland.

Pictured with wife Jenny.

Marston Conder studied at the University of Waikato in the 1970s and completed a Master of Social Sciences in mathematics with First Class Honours in 1977. He won two scholarships to study for his doctorate at the University of Oxford, completing it in 1980 and winning Oxford's Senior Mathematical and Johnson Prizes for the best doctoral thesis that year.

Following postdoctoral fellowships in Dunedin and Germany, he began a 30-year academic career at the University of Auckland in 1983, where he now holds the title of Distinguished Professor.

Professor Conder has served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Auckland, and President of the New Zealand Mathematical Society and Academy of the Royal Society of New Zealand. He was also the driving force behind the establishment of the New Zealand Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, which he led for a decade.

Testament to the high regard he is held internationally, he was selected as the first Maclaurin lecturer in 2011 to tour the United States as part of a new joint venture between the New Zealand and American Mathematical Societies.



Judge Stephanie Milroy

Māori Land Court Judge and Deputy Chair, Waitangi Tribunal.

Pictured with husband Simon and daughters Audrey and Veronica.

Stephanie Milroy (Tūhoe and Ngāti Whakaue) had established a successful career in the legal profession before deciding to enrol in postgraduate study at the University of Waikato in 1995 - where she graduated with a Master of Laws in 1997.

After previously graduating from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Laws, Judge Milroy began her legal career at leading Hamilton law firm Harkness Henry - where she was promoted to associate partner, and later was a senior investigating solicitor in Hamilton's Commercial Affairs Department.

Throughout her studies at Waikato, Judge Milroy lectured in the University's Faculty of Law (now Te Piringa - Faculty of Law).

In 2002, Judge Milroy was appointed to the Maori Land Court where she continues to serve as judge for the Waikato/Maniapoto region. In 2010 she was appointed Deputy Chair of the Waitangi Tribunal and since then has served as presiding officer on the Tauranga Moana and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa inquiries, and is currently the presiding officer for the Mangatu Crown forest remedies hearings.

She has researched and presented widely on Treaty of Waitangi and Māori legal issues, and is known as an empathetic and considered legal practitioner.



Edmund Wee

Managing and Creative Director, Epigram and Publisher and CEO, Epigram Books.

Pictured with son Wee Zhen Yang.

Singaporean Edmund Wee travelled overseas for the first time in 1971 as a scholarship student under the Colombo Plan. He was assigned to study psychology at New Zealand's newest university - the University of Waikato, and graduated in 1976 with a Master of Social Sciences with First Class Honours in psychology.

Returning home to Singapore in 1977, Mr Wee served his compulsory military service as an army psychologist. He remained there for three years and later spent time researching secret society gangsters in prison. 

Mr Wee sought creative fulfilment with a career change in 1987, joining national newspaper The Straits Times as a journalist. Working there sparked an interest in design and Mr Wee was soon design editor for the newspaper, travelling widely to see how newspaper design was changing around the world and applying new techniques to The Straits Times at home. 

By establishing his own design agency - Epigram - in 1991, Mr Wee oversaw a creative shift in Singapore's design industry. Epigram was quickly recognised for its unique approach to design, winning numerous awards in Singapore, Asia, Europe and the US.

In 2008 Mr Wee won Designer of the Year at the prestigious Singapore President's Design Awards. In 2011, he founded publishing firm Epigram Books and was subsequently named one of Singapore's 10 most influential people in the arts in 2011.



Around the faculties

A round-up of the top news and events from across the University's faculties.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences: Professor Vincent O'Sullivan, 2013 Poet Laureate, presents this year's Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture: 'The beach at Stresa, the 'Wheatsheaf' in Soho,' 5.30pm, 30 October, S.G.02. The University of Waikato started the Frank Sargeson Memorial Lecture in 2003 to celebrate the life and work of Hamilton's most famous literary son.

Faculty of Computing and Mathematical Science: Hillary Scholar and badminton star Michael Fowke is off to the Netherlands to work with agriculture and horticulture research company BLGG in Wageningen.

Faculty of Education: Pace bowler and Sport and Leisure Studies student Tony Goodin has nabbed a six-month contract with the Northern Knights district cricket team.

Faculty of Science and Engineering: Students from the School of Engineering will display their research projects in the Carter Holt Harvey Pulp & Paper - Engineering Design Show, 15 - 16 October in S Block on campus. Open to the public 9am - 3pm both days. 

Te Piringa - Faculty of Law: The Honourable Justice Joseph Williams delivers this year's Harkness Henry Lecture, 6.15pm, 7 November in PWC: "Lex Aotearoa: a heroic attempt at mapping the Maori dimension in modern New Zealand law." 

School of Māori and Pacific Development: Chancellor Jim Bolger (pictured with SMPD Dean, Professor Linda Smith and students from Samoa College) led a high-level delegation from the University of Waikato to Samoa in August to reestablish ties with alumni, build relationships with government officials and take part in a public lecture on climate change at the National University of Samoa.

Waikato Management School: Four management students beat out teams from Otago, Auckland, Victoria, AUT and Canterbury Universities, as well as teams from Australia, Canada, Singapore and China to win the international SDS case competition held in Queenstown. 



Postgraduate month underway at Waikato

October is postgraduate month and an opportunity for alumni to consider continuing their studies and to explore the University's postgraduate options.

Postgraduate month features events and activities to build awareness of postgraduate research and develop a strong postgraduate culture on campus, as well as to recognise its place in the University's contribution to the community.

Undoubtedly the highlight of Postgraduate Month is the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, where higher degree candidates present a compelling oration of their thesis and its significance in just three minutes, in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience. The 3MT finals will be held at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts on 22 October, 7pm. The event is open to the public, but spaces are limited.

For a full programme, click here



From the Vice-Chancellor

Professor Roy Crawford

The University of Waikato is once again proud to recognise the achievements of three outstanding alumni: Distinguished Professor of Mathematics Marston Conder, Māori Land Court Judge Stephanie Milroy and Singaporean design-agency owner Edmund Wee. 

As the University celebrates 50 years of excellence in teaching and research in 2014, it is the success of our graduates that contribute to this University's growing international reputation. This year's Distinguished Alumni are a credit to this University and we are pleased to recognise them for the exceptional contributions they are making to their careers and communities.

I hope you will be inspired by the success of the alumni featured in this special Distinguished Alumni E-News. They are part of a growing group of students, staff and alumni who are creating positive change in their chosen fields all around the world.

Support your University 

Alumni, friends and staff can support the University of Waikato in a number of ways. Click here to find out how.


Check out the latest issue of re:think, Waikato's research and innovation publication.

Enrol in T Semester Want to speed up your study, get ahead or try something new? The University of Waikato offers two summer school semesters - click here to find out more.

Alumni & Friends Events

Join Chancellor Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford for Alumni & Friends events in Wellington, 2 October and Christchurch, 3 October. Both events will feature a singing master class with Senior Fellow in Music and internationally-renowned opera singer, Dame Malvina Major. These events are a great opportunity to catch up with fellow alumni and hear the latest University news and highlights as we lead up to 50th anniversary celebrations in 2014. Email to register or click on the links for further details.

Waikato Management School Short Courses

WMS Short Courses are taught by the same lecturers and professors as the University of Waikato's award-winning MBA programme, and are about practical, applied learning. 

9 October: Risk Management: Introduction to the World of Risk with Dr John Bircham; Principal of Bircham-Global, a management, risk consultancy and learning and development provider. Reduced rates are available for Waikato alumni - find out more

Inaugural Professorial Lectures 2013: this lecture series introduces the University's newest professors to the community. Come along and find out what our people are doing and how their work is having a real impact on the world around us. 29 October: Professor Debashish Munshi, Waikato Management School. 

View all University events

Travel the world with a CELTA qualification: running 2 - 29 November, CELTA is an internationally recognised programme designed to train you in the skills to teach English as a second language. Find out more here

Alumni links

Help us reconnect Lost Alumni are former students and graduates of the University we have lost touch with, and we want to connect with as many of our alumni as possible. Check the Lost Alumni website to see if you or someone you know is there. 

Worldwide Alumni Representatives 

Tell us your stories! Email and let us know what you've been doing since graduation.

Keep up to date with alumni news, info and events here