Dean’s blog: “Thank you – you make the impossible, possible.”

12 September 2013

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Professor Greg Whittred, Dean, the Business School

Several years ago, my predecessor Professor Barry Spicer had a dream to create a world-class Business School and he knew he couldn’t do it alone. It was his vision that resonated with you and over the past ten years together, we have created a new reality for New Zealand business and our students.

You have made so much possible. As a major supporter and catalyst in this process, Annette and Neal Plowman and their family set us a very aspirational goal. They challenged us to find $10 million, to which they would match 50 cents for every dollar raised, to create a Business School Endowment Fund (BSEF). If there is one thing a business school is up for, it’s a challenge! We met their target and this year the first ever distributions were made from that fund.

What have you made possible? Well, the outputs are significant. You have supported post-doctoral fellowships for the New Zealand Asia Institute and the New Zealand Leadership Institute, plus the creation of a $400,000 scholarship pool to support the launch of our new taught masters programmes, ensuring a diverse and quality student applicant pool over the next few intakes.

Alongside support for new research programmes on the gender gap and other management practises that hinder productivity, together with sustainable business transformation – all topics of high relevance and importance to the New Zealand economy – we have offered 46 undergraduate scholarships covering a range of needs including those outside of Auckland, high-performing students from low decile schools, and Māori and Pacific students.

Funds held in the Paul Kelly postgraduate fund, the Michael Weston scholarship fund and the Kelliher Charitable Trust endowment fund have enabled another six students to further their tertiary education. In total we have invested more than $1.2 million in our students.

In addition, there are scholarships in the pipeline as a result of the Inspiring Futures scholarships and the 2012 Annual Appeal donations.

I know this sounds like an enormous sum of money – and it is, especially when the university sector is crying “poor” to the media. However, the reality is that these funds are not the result of government funding; they are the result of your benefaction and vision. Government funds do not stretch far enough to firstly support the type of practical research that business requires now and secondly, like you, I also don’t believe access to deserving students should be available only to those who can afford it.

I am indeed privileged and honoured to lead a school where staff and students benefit so much from your generosity. You are making the impossible, possible.

Thank you.

Professor Greg Whittred
Dean, the Business School
Email: g.whittred@auckland.ac.nz