Record number of graduands in May

Hamish Saxton.
Hamish Saxton.
A record 1385 students will graduate in person from the University of Otago at a series of graduation ceremonies next month, in a boost for domestic tourism and the Dunedin economy.

Overall, Otago University graduating student numbers are up about 290 this month, from 1757 last May to 2049 this year.

And students graduating in person have risen 3%, from 1345 last year - believed to be the previous largest number of Otago students to graduate in person at May graduations.

University officials said much of the overall increase resulted from an administrative redistribution of in absentia numbers, particularly involving certificates. Many had been traditionally awarded later, at the university's August graduation.

Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton yesterday welcomed the increase in the already high level of in-person graduating numbers.

This was ''great'' for Dunedin and for the city's economy, Mr Saxton said.

Many parents of graduates travelled to Dunedin from the North Island and elsewhere in the country to attend next month's graduation ceremonies.

Otago graduates also became good ambassadors for Dunedin, passing on favourable comments about the city in their new jobs throughout New Zealand and overseas, he added. Otago students are graduating at five graduation ceremonies, at the Regent Theatre, next month, spread across three Saturdays, starting with two ceremonies this Saturday.

A total of 318 graduands in applied science, consumer and applied sciences, physical education and surveying, including about 50 in absentia, will graduate at the first ceremony, at 1pm. Prof Steve Jackson, of the Otago School of Physical Education, will give the graduation address.

At total of 486 graduands in science and biomedical science, including 160 in absentia, will graduate at the second ceremony, at 4pm. Biochemist Prof Warren Tate will give the address.

More than 340 commerce graduands, including more than 60 in absentia, will graduate at a single ceremony, at 3pm, on Saturday, May 11. Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend will give the graduation address.

And about 400 graduands, including 125 in absentia, will graduate with qualifications in arts, education, music, teaching and theology, at the next ceremony at 1pm on Saturday, May 25.

About 500 graduands, including in law, dentistry, health sciences, medicine, pharmacy and physiotherapy- 265 in absentia - will graduate at a second ceremony at 4pm that day. Prof Helen Heslop, of the Baylor College of Medicine, Texas, will give the address.