Honouring prestigious alumnae for the 125th anniversary of suffrage

10 September 2018

The University of Auckland’s science faculty is celebrating the 125th anniversary of universal suffrage in New Zealand, by renaming science schools and departments in honour of notable alumnae.

The Dean of Science, Professor John Hosking, said it was a great way to recognise women across the country.

“We wanted to highlight the considerable contribution women have made to the development of science in New Zealand as a contribution to the more general celebration of universal suffrage.”

In November, the ground floor atrium of the Science Centre will be permanently renamed to the Kathleen Curtis Atrium. Curtis was an astounding scientist and contributed immensely to mycology and plant pathology. She graduated from the University in 1914 with a Bachelor of Arts, with a Senior Scholarship in Botany, followed by a Masters with First Class Honours in Botany.

She was the first woman in New Zealand to gain a Doctor of Science, which she obtained at the University of London in 1919. She was also involved in the New Zealand Federation of University Women and was the first female elected to the Royal Society of New Zealand, in 1936.

The Faculty of Science will temporarily adopt the names of some of its esteemed alumnae for its schools, departments and its institute. From 19-25 September, they will be known as:

The Dame Charmian Jocelyn O’Connor Faculty of Science
The Joan Marjorie Dingley School of Biological Sciences
The Lady Joyce Mary Waters School of Chemical Sciences
The Myra Cohen Department of Computer Science
The Dorothy Una Urlich-Cloher School of Environment
The Annie Christina Morrison Department of Exercise Sciences
The Vivienne Cassie-Cooper Institute of Marine Science
The Kate Milligan Edger Department of Mathematics
The Janice Dolores McAdam Department of Physics
The Dame Mira Szászy School of Psychology
The Jean Glover Heywood Department of Statistics

Hosking said these women dedicated their lives to science and contributed to the country immensely.

“We hope to continue their legacy by both honouring them during the anniversary week of women’s suffrage, and by supporting women to be at the forefront of scientific achievements.”