New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women Otago branch projects group members Dr Vanessa Ward (left) and Dr Coralie Daniel reflect on a newly installed information panel devoted to Sir John Richardson, a pioneering advocate of higher education for women. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A collaborative initiative is shedding fresh light on Sir
John Richardson, a visionary advocate of education for women,
and for whom the University of Otago's Richardson Building is
The Otago branch of the New Zealand Federation of Graduate
Women and the university have joined forces to create and
install a new informative panel in the building, describing
the life and influence of Sir John (1810-78).
An early Otago University chancellor, he was a keen advocate
of higher education for women.
He was ''largely responsible'' for the decision of the
University Council in 1871 to accept a women's petition for
admission to the university's classes, the panel says.
''Otago was the first university in the southern hemisphere
to grant women full admission,'' it says.
Sir John was also an early supporter of Otago Boys' High
School and of a campaign to establish Otago Girls' High
He is also commemorated by a Richardson Scholarship for
senior students in humanitiesThe plaque was unveiled at a
function last week attended by about 25 people.
Federation Otago branch president Sue Cathro said branch
members had been keen to help provide more information about
Sir John, and the branch had provided financial support for
Mrs Cathro also praised the help of university registrar Jan
Flood, and Sue Larkins, manager of strategy and planning at
the university's Property Services, in completing the project
Dr Vanessa Ward and Dr Coralie Daniel, both members of the
branch's projects group, were also pleased with the outcome.
Ms Larkins said the project had been a ''wonderful
initiative'' by the Otago branch and she would like to see
more of that kind of information in other places at the
university, adding to the sense of a ''creative and lively