The University of Waikato’s first Dean of the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, John Turner, has passed away aged 93.
John joined the University of Waikato in 1970 as a Reader in Mathematics, having moved from the United Kingdom where he was Principal Lecturer in Statistics Operations Research at Leeds Polytechnic. Between 1971 and 1973 John was the Acting Director of Computing Services at the University which preceded his appointment as the Foundation Dean of the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences in 1986.
John’s contribution as the Foundation Dean was significant, establishing the Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences along with programmes for Diploma, Masters, and Doctorate awards. John set the direction of teaching and research among the department’s 19 staff and introduced methods and systems adopted by other institutions around New Zealand at the time.
He was also the Chief Examiner for the Bursary and Scholarship Examinations in Applied Mathematics, which saw him set papers and organise marking teams to deal with more than 5,000 scripts per year from secondary schools throughout New Zealand.
John was widely published and was a member of many mathematical and computing societies, including being the founding member of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty Computer Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society London.
Outside of the University, John was responsible for the establishment of the Waikato Art Group, which built up a collection of New Zealand artworks exhibited in various locations throughout the University campus. He was also the founding member of the New Zealand Federation of Classical Guitar Societies and the Hamilton Hang Gliding Society.
John was elected an Honorary Life Member of the NZ Mathematical Society in 1993 and was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Waikato in 1994.