Academic achievements run in family

Prof James Higham, of the University of Otago tourism department, his daughter Ali Higham (22)...
Prof James Higham, of the University of Otago tourism department, his daughter Ali Higham (22) and wife Linda Buxton will be closely involved in the university’s latest graduations today.PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A Dunedin family will achieve a rare treble today at the University of Otago’s latest graduation ceremonies.

Prof James Higham, of the Otago tourism department, will give the graduation address at the 4pm ceremony at the Dunedin Town Hall.

And his wife Linda Buxton and daughter Ali Higham will graduate with masters degrees at the 1pm event.

"It’s lovely to get together and celebrate a lot of hard work," Ms Buxton said.

"It feels a great sense of satisfaction to be graduating, but to be graduating at the same time as Ali is particularly special.

"Having the family all back together will definitely be the highlight," she said.

Miss Higham, who has been teaching English at Tauranga Girls’ College since January, has flown back to Dunedin for the first time for graduation.

Ms Buxton is a health promotion adviser, including for the SunSmart Schools programme, for the Cancer Society’s Otago and Southland division.

Her master of public health thesis, on aspects of sun protection, was supervised by Otago’s Associate Prof Tony Reeder and Dr Louise Marsh.

Having earlier gained a bachelor of physical education degree (1989) and a BSc in human nutrition (1991), Ms Buxton appreciated Prof Higham’s strong support as she resumed her university studies.

She made good use of the Covid-19 lockdown to advance her thesis writing, supported by a "great supervision team".

"It is with some relief, probably to them and the whole family that the thesis is now completed. "

Miss Higham will graduate with a master of teaching and learning degree in secondary education and was yesterday "just proud and excited to get to come home".

She was pleased to be graduating with her mother, and fellow teaching graduands.

Although she and her mother were pursuing different subjects, they regularly met in town throughout their studies.

Prof Higham would be celebrating the graduation of tourism students and it was "extra special for me to see two members of my family graduating as well", he said.

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