Award recognises global achievements
Distinguished Professor of Mathematics and former Matamata College student Marston Conder will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato this month.
Professor Conder completed a Masters in Social Sciences, with First Class Honours in mathematics at the University of Waikato in 1977. He won two scholarships to study for his doctorate at Oxford University in the United Kingdom and graduated there in 1980, winning the Senior Mathematical and Johnson prizes for the best doctoral thesis that year.
Following postdoctoral fellowships in Dunedin and Germany, Prof Conder took up a lectureship at the University of Auckland – where he remains more than 30 years later. He has served as Head of the Mathematics Department and as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).
In 1993, aged just 38, he was promoted to full professor, and in 2011 was bestowed the title of distinguished drofessor – the first in mathematics at Auckland University.
Prof Conder internationally renowned authority on combinatorial group theory, and his research to date has resulted in more than 120 publications worldwide.
He has received numerous scholarships, awards and grants, and has been a continuous recipient of Marsden grants since the establishment of the Mars-
an den Fund in 1995.
Prof Conder has overseen some of the most important developments in mathematics and research nationwide. In 2000 he cofounded and led the New Zealand Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, one of the first five centres of research excellence, which lifted the performance of mathematics teaching and research across New Zealand.
In 2002 he chaired the governmentappointed committee that established New Zealand’s Performance Based Research Fund ( PBRF), the classification system that awards funds to tertiary institutions based on academic research quality.
Prof Conder is held in high regard in New Zealand and overseas, and is a sought-after speaker at international conferences. In 2012 he was selected as the inaugural Maclaurin lecturer to take part in a lecture tour of American universities as part of a new joint venture between the New Zealand and American mathematical societies.
The University of Waikato Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2013 will be presented September 20 at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. The two other recipients this year are Singaporean design- agency owner Edmund Wee and Maori Land Court Judge Stephanie Milroy.
Prof Conder says he is delighted to win this award.
‘‘I was lucky to build a career on top of a first- class, all- round education at Matamata College and the University of Waikato, and I have some great memories of those experiences.’’
University of Waikato Vice- Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says Prof Conder’s work in mathematics and research has contributed to an enhanced research community in New Zealand, in turn profiling his outstanding achievements on a global platform. ‘‘ Professor Conder exemplifies the qualities of excellence that, as a University, we are committed to achieving. It is an honour to present Professor Conder with this award.’’
Three Distinguished Alumni Awards are presented every year. The awards celebrate and honour Waikato alumni who have made outstanding contributions in their careers and communities, taking into account excellence in the professional, cultural, creative and voluntary sectors.
Honour: Professor Marston Conder will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato this month.