For all our futures

Development, Editorial, From the Vice-Chancellor, Headlines, News — By on October 12, 2016 2:47 pm

At no time in human history has the world been as complex and rapidly changing as it is today.

We face challenges to our traditional way of doing things and opportunities to create for ourselves, our children and our communities exciting, new and as-yetunimagined futures.

Research universities have a unique role to play in creating the future. Only they both generate new knowledge and provide the highest levels of formal education. This creates opportunities for our society to adapt to the technological revolution and the changing nature of work, to give all our young people access to high-quality education, to respond to disturbing new diseases and intractable old ones, to address the needs of an ageing population and to limit and adapt to climate change and environmental pressures.

As New Zealand’s leading research university, we are ideally placed to serve our national and international communities in this way. Our students are among the best in the country, our entry standards the highest. We have scholars and scientists who are true world leaders. We have translated discovery and radical innovation into products and processes for the benefit of the health, social services, commercial, cultural, environmental and community sectors. However, those capabilities and more will be needed if we are to fulfil our role in creating the future we all wish for our children and grandchildren.

Finding solutions to these critical issues will require partnerships – between academics, communities and industry, and between nations. We have already developed many such relationships and we are well positioned to build many more, seeking collaborative expertise wherever it may be found.

The other partnerships vital to success are the ones we have with you, our alumni, donors and friends. They are partnerships of great value and impact, powerful catalysts for creating academic excellence, intellectual leadership and outstanding research.

They are partnerships that can touch and transform all our communities in ways we cannot achieve alone. That is why we, like all the world’s leading universities, give them such value and importance. The past decade has demonstrated that power. Support from donors has enabled us to explore new avenues of research that would not be funded through conventional research grants. We have made progress: from induction power for electric cars and robots that help the elderly to cancer breakthroughs, the restoration of our natural environment and the development of young New Zealanders who are truly international in their outlook.

Now we want to build on that progress. We have launched a major philanthropic campaign to raise the funds that will enable the University to increase the impact of its contribution to society, to change lives for the better and to ensure a strong, successful and confident future for New Zealand.

Alan Kay, computer scientist and Adjunct Professor at University of California Los Angeles and previously at MIT, has said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

I hope we can count on your support to take what has been achieved so far and build on it together, for all our futures.

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