University of Waikato 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards
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2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards

, join us in celebrating our amazing alumni


 The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards were held at the University of Waikato's Hamilton campus at the end of March. Three outstanding alumni were honoured at the prestigious award ceremony. 

Special congratulations to Aviva CEO Mark Wilson, Vice-Chancellor and President of the National University of Samoa, Professor Asofou So'o, and writer Deborah Challinor. 

 This special Alumni & Friends e-newsletter celebrates our 2017 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni award.

Distinguished alumni honoured for 2017: From left, Professor Fui Le'apai Tu'ua '─¬laoa Asofou So’o, Deborah Challinor, Mark Wilson.

Founded in 2007, these awards celebrate and honour graduates of the University of Waikato who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities. They are alumni who have succeeded at all heights of their careers and achieved excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors. 

Highlights from the awards

Check out our online gallery for highlights of the 2017 awards ceremony 


Learn about our 2017 award recipients below & be inspired by their stories

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson was born in Rotorua and came to Hamilton to study at the University of Waikato on an economics scholarship. After graduating with a Bachelor of Management Studies, Mark worked in insurance which took him to Asia for 14 years, and where he began to earn a reputation as a turn-around specialist. Last year he was named in the Sunday Times 2016 list of Britain’s most influential people. Read more about Mark's journey here

Deborah Challinor

Deborah Challinor is an historian and writer. She completed her PhD in History at Waikato studying New Zealand soldiers and the Vietnam War, which resulted in the non-fiction book Grey Ghosts. All of Deborah’s 15 novels have appeared in the top five of the New Zealand fiction bestseller list, with seven of them reaching number one. Deborah lives in the Waikato and continues to write full-time. Read more about her contributions to the literary world here

Professor Asofou So’o

Professor Fui Le'apai Tu'ua '─¬laoa Asofou So’o is Vice-Chancellor and President of the National University of Samoa. He graduated with a Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Master of Arts from Waikato. In 2009 he became the University of Samoa's fourth Vice-Chancellor and President. On top of this, Professor So’o is also a member of the Board of the Samoa Qualifications Authority. Read more about his contributions here.

2018 nominations open now!

All graduates with a degree or diploma are eligible for a Distinguished Alumni Award nomination. Students, alumni, current and former staff of the University of Waikato and members of the community are welcome to make a nomination. If you would like to nominate someone for this award, please complete the official Distinguished Alumni Awards nomination form.

Thank you for helping us celebrate our 2017 distinguished alumni. Keep an eye on your inbox for our next e-newsletter with all of our regular updates. 


University of Waikato Alumni and Friends Team

In brief: happenings on campus   
The proposed Waikato Medical School received a boost with Sir Owen Glen committing $5 million to support the development. Learn more here.

Our Waikato Management School has achieved Tier One status for its MBA programme in CEO Magazine’s Global MBA Rankings 2017. Read more here.

Keep up to date with news & events at Waikato here.



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