A long history of support from Waikato Graduate Women
Long before the University of Waikato came to be, Waikato Graduate Women established themselves as strong supporters of the Waikato region.
From humble beginnings in 1927 as the Waikato branch of the New Zealand Federation of University Women, to reestablishment in the 1950s, the Waikato Graduate Women Trust has launched many ventures that provide support to the wider University of Waikato community.
To demonstrate and further their commitment to women in education, the Trust set up the Academic Dress Hire in 1959 with the goal of providing awards and grants to female students. This venture was headed by a committee that volunteered their time to sew academic hoods and hire regalia for graduations and other ceremonial occasions. By 1961, the profits of this allowed the trust to offer their first academic award - the Elizabeth Bisley Memorial Prize in English, in honour of one of their founding members and first president.
As talks about the establishment of the University of Waikato began, the Trust was involved in the process, heavily focused on student accommodation and welfare. Their support translated into fundraising for the construction of the halls of residence and providing support to students living away from home, including the hosting of overseas students.
The Waikato Graduate Women Educational Trust’s connection with the University of Waikato over the years has grown, seeing many current and former staff serve as trustees.
Anne McKim (pictured), the University’s newest Emeritus Professor of English, currently chairs the trust. “Our commitment has always been to furthering women in education and we are proud to offer a range of annual awards to University of Waikato students, both in the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.”
Today, the Waikato Graduate Women Educational Trust is a thriving, independent body that provides more than 15 academic awards for students living in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty region.