Events planned for university sesquicentenary

Helen Nicholson is preparing for a colourful line-up of celebrations to mark 150 years of the University of Otago. Photo: Supplied
Helen Nicholson is preparing for a colourful line-up of celebrations to mark 150 years of the University of Otago. Photo: Supplied
Bells will ring out for the University of Otago's 150th anniversary celebrations, as part of a series of newly announced events geared towards the alumni and the city.

The focus of the celebrations is Queen's Birthday weekend next year, but a colourful line-up of events will be held in the months before, starting with a Burns Night supper at Dunedin Town Hall in January.

The run-up to the official celebrations will include a ''carnival-like'' picnic on the university's clocktower lawn February 15, where the original bell from the university's first premises in Princes St will be rung.

External engagement deputy vice-chancellor Prof Helen Nicholson said the bell had been in storage for ''quite a few years''.

Both the university community and the wider public, including families, were invited to the get-together.

The celebrations would continue in March with a street parade from the dental school to the Octagon for all staff and students, complete with a band.

In April, a Science Teller Festival was planned with author Mary Roach and science writer Michael Shermer.

The same weekend a concert would be held, celebrating music from the '80s and '90s.

Department of music senior lecturer and musical director Graeme Downes said the concert would feature numbers people might have heard at Union Hall during Orientation Week - with a classic twist.

They would be performed by the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with Dunedin Sound singers and composers including Martin Phillipps, Shayne Carter, David Kilgour, and special guest soprano Anna Leese.

Throughout the year, Prof Nicholson said the university was hoping for several thousand people, and at least several hundred over Queen's Birthday weekend.

A list of key dates was being finalised, and registrations for the Queen's Birthday anniversary celebrations were due to open in early December.

Prof Nicholson declined to comment on the cost of the celebrations, saying it was commercially sensitive.

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