University of Otago mature student and now graduand Wallie
Waudby (76) says ''it helps if you've got a sense of
humour''. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Mature student Wallie Waudby is ''over the moon'' to be
graduating from the University of Otago with a BA in history
Mr Waudby (76) is among more than 370 Otago graduands who
will graduate from the university in person, in a wide range
of disciplines, at a 3pm ceremony at the Dunedin Town Hall.
He had previously never considered undertaking university
study, but after retiring from Cadbury, Dunedin, in 2006
after 41 years working for the company in the city, he
decided to try.
Having begun studies part-time in 2008, he was ''very, very
happy'' to have completed his degree.
It had proved to be an ''amazing, rewarding experience''.
''I wouldn't have missed it for the world.''
That achievement had really only started to sink in after he
picked up his capping regalia on Thursday.
''I've actually done it. I've certainly proved something to
Support from fellow students had been ''a great help'', and
backing from staff at the Otago history and art history
department had also been ''amazing''.
The university's Student Learning Centre had also been
helpful, and he was deeply grateful for the unfailing support
of his wife, Eileen.
''It was her idea and she pushed me really well.''
Irish-born Mr Waudby emigrated to New Zealand in 1966 with
his wife and young son Andrew.
Mr Waudby had already worked for Cadbury for six years in
Birmingham, England, before transferring to the firm's
He initially envisaged taking a two-year break before heading
back to England, but Dunedin began to grow on them and the
years flowed by rather agreeably in their new home.
Mr Waudby held several management roles over the years and
later shifted into a senior co-ordinating role in human
resources, before retiring in 2006.
He took his first academic paper in history for ''interest
only'', requiring no assignments or exams, in 2008, and then
decided to take one credit paper, requiring the first of many
He initially found academic study ''scary'', but soon settled
in and began ''enjoying the challenge''.
The reality that he would actually have to complete 20 papers
to gain a degree had later come as ''quite a shock''.
''That was when I got motivated.''