Alumnus acknowledged for outstanding contribution towards education in Samoa

Professor Fui Le'apai Tu'ua 'Īlaoa Asofou So’o is Vice-Chancellor and President of the National University of Samoa.

He graduated from the University of Waikato in 1982 with a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts and returned to Waikato in the late 1980s to study for a Master of Arts, graduating in 1989.  He completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 1996.

Professor So’o comes from the village of Savaia Lefaga on the island of Upolu.

From 2001 to 2008 he was Director of the Institute of Samoan Studies, which later became the Centre for Samoan Studies.  Following the merger of the Samoan Polytechnic and National University of Samoa in 2006, he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor until 2009 when he became the university’s fourth Vice-Chancellor and President. In 2015 he was appointed for a third term. Professor So’o is also a member of the Board of the Samoa Qualifications Authority.

The leadership of Professor So’o has been instrumental in guiding the National University of Samoa to national and international recognition as a vibrant and innovative centre of excellence for research in Samoan studies and quality teaching and training across all disciplines. Part of that involves augmenting the university’s collaborative networks with industry, business, government and building on alliances and partnerships with other local and international institutions.

Within the National University he has instituted a series of policies designed to raise standards and adopt international best practice, including promoting the completion of research Masters and PhD degrees by the academic staff.  The National University of Samoa Graduation Ceremony on 7 April 2017 will see its first students awarded with NUS' Doctor of Philosophy; where two students will graduate with this qualification.  It will mark a monumental milestone for the University as a tertiary institution.  Professor So’o has also been a strong and vocal advocate for gender equality.

For more than 25 years Professor So’o has published widely on matters of democracy and governance in Samoa and the Pacific Islands, including public sector reform, the impact of globalisation, sustainable development, and conflict in the Pacific. His influence in the region has been, and continues to be, substantial.

For his outstanding contribution towards the advancement of education in Samoa, Professor Asofou Fui Le'apai Tu'ua 'Īlaoa So’o is a worthy recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The University of Waikato's Distinguished Alumni Awards were held on Friday 31 March 2017 on the Hamilton campus.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate and honour University of Waikato alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities, taking into account excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors.