Sir Edmund Hillary 1919 - 2008

Along with the rest of the nation, the University of Waikato is mourning the loss of one of our great leaders.

He was an inspiration to all New Zealanders, but particularly young people, and he was interested in and keen to encourage them to challenge themselves.  As patron of the University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme he espoused the its philosophy of excellence, all round development – both academic and sporting or creative - and leadership. The Programme, which provides a full scholarship and support for some of this country’s highest achieving students is designed to challenge and stretch capability; it is about innovation, and strong networks and relationships – attributes its patron had in plenty.

Sir Edmund received an Honorary Doctorate from the University in 2006. This was not just for his very well known achievements in mountaineering, exploration and philanthropy and environmental conservation but also for his close alignment with the values of excellence of the University, and its teaching and research strengths in environmental planning, ecology, and environmental conservation and restoration.

With his involvement with young people throughout New Zealand, and his commitment to the healthy, wellbeing and education of communities in poorer regions of the world, particularly  Nepal and India, Sir Edmund truly lived this University’s motto – Ko te Tangata – For the People.

For his achievements, his lasting connection with people from grassroots to embassies, and for his lifelong support of those striving for personal excellence and to be the most they can, we join the rest of New Zealand, and the world in both celebrating the life of Sir Ed Hillary, and mourning the passing of a great man of the people.

Professor Roy Crawford
Vice-Chancellor
January 2008

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