Top alumni honoured at Waikato University

7 September 2009
A peace educator, a chef and food critic, and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner were honoured on September 4 at Waikato University's annual Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Dr Judy McGregor, Annabelle White and Alyn Ware were acknowledged at the invitation-only dinner for 200 people at the University's stunning Wel Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says the awards celebrate top alumni and show the wider world what can be achieved on the back of a degree from the University of Waikato.

Alyn Ware has spent the past 25 years working in New Zealand and internationally on peace education and disarmament issues.

He graduated from the University of Waikato in 1983 with a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma in Kindergarten Teaching and is now considered one of the most prominent and effective leaders in the campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapon. His opinion and knowledge is sought by many, from students through to the corridors of power in the United Nations. He said in his acceptance speech that he saw the award primarily as recognition of the value of his field of work.

Mr Ware is currently the global co-ordinator for Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament; the Director of the Peace Foundation in Wellington; Vice-President of the International Peace Bureau; Director of Aotearoa Lawyers for Peace, and an international consultant for the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms. He's also the New Zealand co-ordinator for the World March for Peace and Nonviolence and has already won international awards for his work.

Another alumnus whose work has been recognised with national and international awards is the current Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor. She graduated from the University of Waikato in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts, and went on to qualify in law before gaining a doctorate in political communication.

Dr McGregor has had a distinguished career in journalism, during which she was editor of the Sunday News and the Auckland Star, and in 2004 she was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for services to journalism. She also founded the New Zealand Centre for Women and Leadership, and helped establish the New Zealand Women in Leadership Programme in 2007. Dr McGregor was nominated by Waikato's Pro Vice-Chancellor Postgraduate Studies Professor Giselle Byrnes and Waikato University has just recently held a Women in Leadership Day

Former history teacher Annabelle White is better known now as a chef, food critic and public speaker.

Ms White graduated from the University of Waikato in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts. That was followed two years later with a Graduate Diploma in Education Studies and in 1983 by a Masters degree with first class honours.

Ms White has been writing about food for more than 20 years and has published 10 cookbooks, had several radio and television slots, newspaper columns and magazine roles. She's currently seen in print as the Sunday Star-Times "food detective" and is a regular on the best-seller lists with her cookbooks.

Ms White helped design the menu for the awards dinner and supplied guests with the dessert recipe.

2009 Alumni Award Winners

Waikato University's Distinguished Alumni Award winners, from left, Dr Judy McGregor, Alyn Ware and Annabelle White with their awards. Behind are Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford and Chancellor Jim Bolger. Photo: Barker Photography.