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Issue 90, September 2005

Freemasons Gift $250,000 to University Travelling Fellowship

A travelling research fellowship established as a parting gift by the former Dean of The University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Professor Peter Smith, has received a substantial boost from the Freemasons of New Zealand.

Their gift of $250,000 to the Faculty matches Professor Smith’s personal donation, which he announced at the Faculty’s Alumni dinner in May.

Both gifts will be used to establish the PJ Smith New Zealand Freemasons Travelling Research Fellowship, which will give Faculty and doctoral students the opportunity to visit leading universities in Australia.

The first recipient of the fellowship is Dr Marie Ward of the Department of Physiology, who will travel to the University of Sydney to conduct further research into the effects of Duchennes muscular dystrophy on the heart with Professor David Allen of the Institute of Biomedical Research.

The Freemasons of New Zealand Grandmaster David Mace said his organisation was very excited at the possibility of enabling young medical and health sciences academics to travel overseas to build on their research capabilities.

“Professor Smith’s generosity was such an extraordinary personal commitment, we wanted to honour that with a gift of our own,” he said.

The Freemasons of New Zealand have a long legacy of support for the Faculty and University including The Freemasons Chair in Geriatric Medicine, innovative Huntington’s Disease research and by providing undergraduate scholarships for top undergraduate students.

Professor Smith, who is returning to Australia to become head of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, said the fund would ensure The University of Auckland will build stronger links with research-led universities in Australia.

“The two countries each have enormous strengths in areas of medical and population health research. This fund will help develop collaborations that will benefit both countries.”

“Travelling research fellowships will give the Faculty’s doctoral students and new academic staff an opportunity to build their research portfolios by providing access to colleagues and capabilities in Australia.”

“I look forward to one day welcoming a Fellowship recipient to the Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales,” he said.

Press Release: Thursday 11 August 2005

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