VC receives award for leadership

22 Feb, 2022
Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack has received the highest University Medal acknowledging his outstanding leadership of AUT over the last 18 years.

Mr McCormack received the Council Award for Outstanding Leadership at the university’s recent Excellence Awards, the first time such an award has been presented. He is leaving AUT at the end of March after announcing his retirement last year.

The award was presented by Professor Kath McPherson, AUT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research. “Derek is now one of the longest serving vice-chancellors in New Zealand history. Over the last 18 years, he has led AUT from being an unranked emerging university into one of the top 300 universities in the world and the third ranked university in New Zealand,” she said, “this award is a fitting acknowledgement of both his remarkable contributions to AUT and his legacy.”

Derek McCormack joined the senior management of AIT in 1991, later becoming General Manager, with a prime responsibility to work on the establishment of the institute as a university. When AUT became a university in 2000, he was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, a position he held until his appointment as Vice-Chancellor in 2004.

Under Mr McCormack’s leadership, AUT has grown to be the second-largest university in New Zealand, with more than 29,000 students spread across new facilities on three campuses in Auckland. From one doctoral student and a modest number of postgraduate and undergraduate students in 2000, AUT now has more 1,000 doctoral candidates, over 4,000 staff including over 200 professors and associate professors, and more than 100,000 alumni.

Professor McPherson paid a personal tribute to Mr McCormack during the presentation, “It is no small feat to build a new and successful university in the 21st century. Through good times and those that are more challenging or even perhaps even bad, your love of the university and its people – our staff and students – has led to where we are now. It is not lost on our sector – across all universities in New Zealand that AUT has been at the forefront of some great changes in tertiary education in New Zealand – many things introduced at AUT are now embedded in policy and increasingly practice not just here but elsewhere.”

Dr Damon Salesa will take up the position of AUT Vice-Chancellor from Thursday 31 March 2022.

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