Newsletter 2017 | Q1

Newsletter 2017 | Q1

Washington, DC Event – November 3, 2016

AUOA hosted an exciting event at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington, DC on Thursday, November 3, 2016, with Barbara Brookes, Professor of History at the University of Otago, as our esteemed guest speaker. Professor Brookes spoke about her latest book 'A History of New Zealand Women' which draws on a lifetime's interest in women's history which started in her student years at Otago. After completing her Bachelor of Arts (History) in 1976, Barbara won a scholarship to Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, at a time of great excitement about the new field of women's history. She gained her MA in 1978 and PhD in 1982 from the College, and later returned to Otago as a postdoctoral fellow. Her list of publications includes essays and books on the history of medicine. An inspiring lecturer, Professor Brookes was acknowledged by colleagues and students at 'Making Women Visible', a conference held in her honor at Otago University in February, 2016.

Catherine Bollard, Board Member of the AUOA (left) with Barbara Brookes and her latest book, 'A History of New Zealand Women'.

Catherine Bollard, Board Member of the AUOA, introducing Professor Barbara Brookes who spoke at the recent Alumni event in Washington.

Chicago, IL Alumni Reception – November 5, 2016

AUOA hosted an event at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago, IL on Saturday, November 5, 2016 where Professor Richard Blaikie, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Enterprise, and Professor in Physics, at the University of Otago, talked to alumni about the elite global status of the University of Otago and the amazing projects that have been completed and are still in progress at Otago. The reception was a perfect warm-up to the All Blacks rugby match against Ireland at the iconic Soldier Field—home of the Chicago Bears. Unfortunately, Ireland beat New Zealand (40-29) to claim their first ever win over the All Blacks. It wasn’t too easy for the Irish in the second half, where they saw the All Blacks try to mount a ferocious comeback but they held on for their much deserved historic win. The event sold out the 62,300 seat stadium in a sports crazy city that had just celebrated the Chicago Cubs World Series win which ended their 108-year baseball curse!

A view from the Suite at Soldier Field during the NZ All Blacks vs. Ireland rugby match.

Sir Murray Brennan copying an anatomical abnormality on the hand of Nathan Rogers while attending the All Blacks game at Soldier Field.

Neil Matheson, President AUOA with his dad and two brothers who came to the US for the game and to celebrate Neil’s birthday. Neil’s dad Graeme (85) played all his rugby in Dunedin in the early 1950’s.

AUOA Welcomes New Board Members!

The Alumni of the University of Otago in America, Inc. (AUOA) thanked outgoing Board members Professor Andrew King and Adrian van Schie for their significant contributions to AUOA and enthusiastically welcomed the following new Board Members at our Board Meeting in Chicago on November 5th, 2016:

Catherine Bollard, Board Member
Catherine Bollard received her MB ChB (1991) and her MD (2005) at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. She is Board certified both in Pediatrics (FRACP) and Hematology (FRCPA). She worked in New Zealand and London before moving to Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas in 2000 where she rose through the ranks to Tenured Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine and Immunology and the Director of the Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center Pediatric Lymphoma Program. In August 2013, she moved to Children’s National and The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC. She is currently Chief, Division of Allergy and Immunology, Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology, Immunology and Tropical Medicine and Director of the Program for Cell Enhancement and Technologies for Immunotherapy (CETI). She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and is President of the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT). She serves on multiple boards and committees at a national and international level. Catherine serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), is a member of the NIH Clinical Oncology (CONC) study section, the Cellular, Tissues and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee for the FDA and Chairs the NHL committee of the Children’s Oncology Group. In addition, she is an Associate Editor for the journals Blood and Cytotherapy. Her bench and translational research focuses on the development of novel cell therapies for malignancies and viral-associated diseases.

Jacinta Calverley, Board Member
Jacinta Calverley was born in Invercargill (nee Ward) and graduated from Otago in 1981 with a BA (double major in French and Economics), and Post Graduate Diploma (Economics). Jacinta specialized in Labor Economics and Industrial Relations, and worked in related roles for the State Services Commission, NZ Employers Federation. She joined Fletcher Challenge in 1986 as a divisional Human Resources Manager holding a range of Corporate HR and Organization Development roles through a 10 year period. She was also a trustee of the Fletcher Challenge Trust, founding chairperson of the NZ Employment Equity Trust, Director of Enterprise New Zealand, chief judge of the Young Enterprise Awards, Director and Board member of Netball New Zealand and lead of the ‘Future Direction’ organization review for Netball New Zealand. Since moving to the US in 2000, Jacinta has acted as the International Netball Federation’s (IFNA) mediator for the USA national representation issue (2008-2010), and was a founding Director of the New York chapter of KEA (Kiwi Expats Association). Jacinta is currently employed by TayganPoint Consulting Group where she is a consultant in project and change management, communications, and organization strategy. As a Southlander and Otago graduate, Jacinta has a long and happy association with the University, and has a daughter who transferred from her US University to Otago where she will complete her BSc in 2016!

John Crowe, Treasurer
John Crowe has spent 16 years as a Finance executive at J.P. Morgan in London and New York. He currently leads the finance team for the Investment Bank's Sales organizations and is focused on optimizing the firm's client franchise. After graduating from the University of Otago in 1993 with a BCom (Hons) and LLB, John worked at The Treasury, Wellington, where he provided advice on State Owned Enterprises, including the privatization of Forestry Corporation.  In 1997 John moved to London and worked as a credit analyst, engagement controller, and program controller before joining J.P. Morgan. John is a member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.

Dr. Andrew Hamer, Board Member
Dr. Hamer is Medical Director, Global Development, at Amgen Inc. in Thousand Oaks, California having previously been VP of Medical Affairs at Capricor Therapeutics. Prior to joining the biotech industry, Andrew had a twenty year career as a cardiologist and clinical researcher. In his clinical practice, he combined all aspects of inpatient and outpatient cardiac care along with hospitalist responsibilities, in a geographically isolated part of New Zealand (Nelson/Marlborough). These activities led to his stewardship in numerous national healthcare quality improvement roles including Chairing the Cardiac Society 2008-2009, National Cardiac Surgery Network 2009-2011 and New Zealand Cardiac Network 2011-2013. Dr. Hamer is an experienced clinical researcher having been the principal investigator in over 35 global multicenter clinical trials in acute coronary syndrome, heart failure, hypertension, cholesterol disorders, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. Dr. Hamer received his education at Cathedral Grammar and Christ’s College, Christchurch, and his MBChB from Otago Medical School. He served as a house officer at Wellington Hospital, a senior house officer at University College Hospital, Middlesex Hospital, London and an internal medicine and cardiology registrar at the Canterbury Area Health Board in Christchurch. Andrew was a clinical research fellow at Green Lane Hospital, Auckland for 2 years, prior to a post Fellowship year in Cardiology at The Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 1995-1996.

Catherine Shyer, Board Member
Catherine Fay Shyer was born in Auckland and attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart (Auckland, Wellington) before graduating from Otago in 1976 with a BS in Consumer and Applied Science. Catherine joined AC Nielsen, the world’s leading marketing information company that offers market research and services in more than 100 countries, and served AC Nielsen in successive levels of management including a two-year international assignment in Toronto, Canada. Upon her return to New Zealand in 1990, Catherine was appointed Managing Director of AC Nielsen – New Zealand. Catherine married Robert Shyer, Chairman of the Zyloware Corporation, in 1993 and moved to the United States. Their child, Elizabeth, who was born in 1996, graduated from the Hotchkiss School in 2014, and currently attends Marymount Manhattan College. Catherine is a Commissioner on the Salisbury, Connecticut Planning and Zoning Commission and Vice President of the Lake Wonoscoponuc Association. Catherine lives with her husband and daughter in New York City and Lakeville, Connecticut and shares her husband’s interest in travel and in contemporary New Zealand art.

Jonathon Wong, Board Member
Jonathon Wong (Jono) is the Head of Strategy & Operations — Global Product Partnerships at Google in Mountain View, California. Jono works closely with senior leaders across Google’s Global Partnerships team to drive the development and execution of business strategy, product partnerships, and operational initiatives in a number of key areas including mobile, digital advertising, and programmatic trading. Prior to joining Google, Jono spent nearly six years with Deloitte Consulting’s strategy and operations practice in Wellington, Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco, where he focused on corporate strategy and M&A. In 2011, Jono was selected as the U.S. Deloitte Rising Star to attend the SNS Future in Review technology conference, and in the same year was appointed to The Center for the Edge, Deloitte’s technology research and thought leadership group based in San Francisco. Jono also co-founded a seed-funded startup (Elevent Inc.), where he managed the product development of a visual decision making platform. Jono holds a Bachelors of Commerce with Honors (first class) in Economics from Otago, and a Master of Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Regional Alumni Group Startups

One of the strategic imperatives for AUOA in 2017 is to establish regional alumni groups as part of the creation of our national alumni network. We are very interested in hearing from alumni that would be interested in establishing a regional group. All that is required is the organization of a few alumni ‘get togethers’ during the year to establish connectivity with AUOA and our alumni network in the US. We are also keen to provide local alumni contacts for Otago University study abroad students attending Universities in the US as well as local US students who have studied abroad at Otago. The AUOA will provide some funding for these social events so that the regional coordinator can ‘shout’ for those in attendance.

If you are interested in being a regional coordinator please contact Neil Matheson at or Nigel Bain at

Recent Funding for Projects at the University

AUOA has recently funded more than NZ$90,000 of programs at the University of Otago including the annual funding of the AUOA Student Exchange, Master of International Studies, and the Oceans of Potential Programs. Newly funded programs include the Medical Artifacts Digital Archive Project at the Otago Medical School, The Charles Farthing Memorial Scholarships Endowment which will fund research in infectious diseases, and the Bob Carter Memorial Field Work project at the Department of Geology.
Funding of these programs is made possible through your generous donations to AUOA and we thank you all very much for your support.