Former Prime Minister elected Chancellor of Waikato University

15 February 2007
The University of Waikato Council has elected the Right Hon. Jim Bolger, ONZ, as Chancellor.

Mr Bolger, who was Prime Minister of New Zealand from October 1990 to December 1997, has been appointed for an initial term of one year.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford said the appointment of Jim Bolger as Chancellor was a historic moment for the University of Waikato.

"By taking up this role, Jim brings new national and international dimensions to the university at a time when universities must benchmark themselves against the best in the world so we can serve New Zealand effectively," Professor Crawford said.

"His leadership qualities and international standing will make him an excellent ambassador for the university."

Professor Crawford took the opportunity also to thank the outgoing Chancellor, Mr John Jackman, for his significant contribution to the University since his election.

"Mr Jackman has been active in securing Mr Bolger as the new Chancellor. He has done an outstanding job for Waikato and on behalf of the University and Council members I would like to extend a warm vote of thanks," he said.

Mr Jackman who has served on the University Council for more than six years, as one of four Ministerial appointees, joined the Vice-Chancellor in welcoming Mr Bolger's election.

"We have been talking to Mr Bolger for some time about taking a leadership role at the University and I am delighted that he has accepted the Chancellorship. I am looking forward to working with him during the transition period."

Mr Bolger said he felt very privileged to be elected as the new Chancellor of the University of Waikato and to have an opportunity to contribute to 21st century education.

"I'm impressed with the exciting new initiatives at the university – its vision and strategy for the future. Students have excellent study choices at Waikato and top appointments are being made to academic posts. We've also seen some real successes through WaikatoLink, the university's commercial arm," he said.

During his 25-year career in politics, Mr Bolger led the National Party for almost 12 years, was a Minister for 16 years and had three consecutive terms as the country's head of government.

Under Mr Bolger's leadership, the New Zealand economy was transformed from having the
lowest growth rate among the 29 OECD nations to one of the strongest.

In 1997, Mr Bolger was appointed a member of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ), New Zealand's highest honour. He served as New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States, from June 1998 to January 2002.

Currently, he is chairman of New Zealand Post, Kiwibank and Express Couriers Ltd. He also chairs Trustees Executors Ltd, the Gas Company Ltd, the Advisory Board of the World Agricultural Forum, St Louis, USA, the New Zealand United States Council, and the Board of Directors of the Ian Axford Fellowships in Public Policy.

He and his wife Joan live on their farm at Te Kuiti and in Wellington. They have nine children and ten grandchildren.