The University of Canterbury will bestow former Prime Minister and UC alumnus Rt Hon Sir John Key with a Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) honorary degree at an official Graduation ceremony on Friday 15 December.
Sir John, who graduated from the University of Canterbury (UC) in 1983 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Accountancy, was the Prime Minister of New Zealand for eight years and Leader of the National Party for 10 years, before announcing his retirement from the leadership role in December 2016.
Sir John was first elected as an MP for Helensville in 2002 and became leader of the National Party in 2006. His achievements include leading the government during the Christchurch earthquakes and the Global Financial Crisis, and a range of economic, social and environmental reforms. He also championed the national cycleway, a number of treaty settlements were made during his three terms in office, and he played a role in “initiatives focused on enhancing New Zealand's sense of nationhood”. The highest profile of those was his campaign to change the national flag.
Sir John, who was instrumental in reinstating the titles of knights and dames in New Zealand, received one of the top honours in this year’s Queen’s Birthday list. He was made a Knight Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in June.
In life after politics, he has been embarking on new careers on the speaking circuit and in the corporate and charity worlds. Sir John has been appointed to the Air New Zealand board, among other directorships. He has also taken a role advising a $200 billion United States corporation on its investments in China, as well as an advisory role with a New York fund manager, and as a representative of Japanese billionaire Dr Haruhisa Handa.
He has been described by UC Chancellor Dr John Wood as “a valued alumnus of this University”.
“Sir John provided strong support to the University of Canterbury, especially in the years since the 2010/2011 earthquakes. His leadership has been critical to the rebuild, not just on campus but in the region in general, and we will be eternally grateful to him for that,” says John.
“He has also been a supporter of the University in a personal capacity and I sincerely hope that his connection with this institution will continue and strengthen in time to come.”
The December 2017 UC graduation ceremonies will take place in Christchurch at Horncastle Arena on Wednesday, December 13 and Friday December 15.