University lecturer receives Ordre des Palmes académiques from French government

13 March 2020

Senior lecturer in French at the University of Waikato, William Jennings, has been made a knight of the Ordre des Palmes académiques, a national order bestowed by the French government to around 100 distinguished academics each year.

The award was originally established in 1808 by the Emperor Napoleon as a decoration to honour eminent members of the University of Paris. The award changed into its current form in 1955 by then President René Coty.

Dr Jennings received his award and accompanying medal through the French embassy in New Zealand, which supports the teaching of French language and culture.

“The award came a bit out of the blue, as it wasn’t something I applied for and is usually given to academics in France; there haven’t been many given out in New Zealand,” says Dr Jennings.

“The diploma that accompanied the award stated that it is recognising services to French culture, which includes teaching in the community, promoting the language at schools and university as well as conducting research.”

Dr Jennings’ research has included looking at contact between French culture and other cultures, including those in the Pacific and in New Zealand, dating back to the 19th century.

He is currently focussing on French colonisation in the Caribbean, and he has nearly finished writing a book on a particular colony in the region, going back to the era of slavery.

French has always been a passion and skill for Dr Jennings, although he started university as a science student before realising his talents lay in French language and culture.

Dr Jennings has been at the University of Waikato for over 20 years, and has also taught community groups including 55+ groups and continuing education classes about aspects of French culture and language.

Latest stories

Related stories

Researchers focussed on tackling the difficult environmental decisions

A team of University of Waikato researchers, led by Professor Iain White, have received $625,000…

New online survey launched on New Zealanders' mental health during lockdown

A new online survey from researchers at the University of Waikato’s School of Psychology asks…

Calling all short story writers in lockdown: Sargeson Prize open

New Zealand’s richest short story competition, the Sargeson Prize, is open for entries. Sponsored by…

Leading Professor heading up University’s School of Psychology

Noted developmental psychologist, Professor Vincent Reid, is heading up the University of Waikato’s School of…

Caring for 300,000 temporary migrants in New Zealand is a crucial missing link in our coronavirus response

More than one-in-16 people in New Zealand today – or more than 300,000 in total…

Housing crisis? What crisis? How politicians talk about housing and why it matters

Politicians in many countries around the world claim to be experiencing a “housing crisis”. But…

Student takes once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan with JENESYS

A cultural exchange to Japan through the JENSEYS programme was a once in a lifetime…

Claudia Ashby and Kelly Petersen - Sir Edmund Hillary Medallists 2020.

Hillary Medalists announced for 2020

A former dentistry student who followed her passion for theatre and an elite endurance swimmer…

Debashish Munshi, Priya Kurian and Sandy Morrison

100% climate resilient?

New research asks how prepared is Aotearoa’s highly valuable tourism sector for the coming impacts…

Waikato commuters committed to their travel mode of choice - cars

Waikato people are wedded to their cars and although they want to use more sustainable…

Corruption Perceptions Index ‘biased’ and ‘flawed’

A University of Waikato researcher has called Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, released this week,…

It’s “haere rā” for Sky Ma

Chinese international student Sky (Ziqi) Ma graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work month after…