University awards honorary degrees to prominent supporters

31 March 2017

Two prominent supporters of the University of Auckland, Julian Robertson KNZM and Roger France ONZM, were awarded honorary doctorates in March this year, in recognition of their major contributions to the University and wider community. Each received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at a ceremony at the University on 15 March.


Julian Robertson KNZM

Founder of one of the world’s largest investment firms, Julian Robertson has made an indelible mark on both business and philanthropy. His philanthropy has been described as “transformative” in his American homeland and overseas.

Born in 1932 in North Carolina, Mr Robertson is the founder of Tiger Management LLC, an independent investment and wealth management firm which he built into one of the world’s largest hedge-fund management firms. He is also a prominent philanthropist and has signed the Giving Pledge, committing the majority of his wealth to charitable causes.

In 1989 he started the Tiger Foundation, which has provided more than US$150 million in grants in New York City aimed at fighting poverty through education, employment, youth and families and criminal justice.

He has also distinguished himself in New Zealand. He has business and leisure interests in this country and in the 2010 New Year Honours his services to business and philanthropy were recognised when he was made an Honorary Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. The University of Auckland has been a significant beneficiary of his philanthropic giving in New Zealand.

Mr Robertson is one of the most generous of the University’s supporters across a number of fields, particularly with his support for important work carried out by the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and the Centre for Brain Research. His Aotearoa Foundation has made a $6.8 million pledge to the University’s For All Our Futures campaign, which seeks to address critical challenges facing our communities.

A number of the University’s students have also been beneficiaries of the Robertson Scholars Leadership Programme. He has supported the University with its development activities in the United States and maintains a strong interest in the work of the University.


Roger France ONZM

Roger France is one of New Zealand’s leading businessmen and has helped guide many local companies. Over the past 15 years he has contributed those skills to support the University in many different ways. He has also been an active advocate for the University and its work, especially among peers in the corporate world.

He trained as an accountant, and after 20 years working for major national and international companies here and overseas he moved into governance. He has since held directorships in a wide range of companies.

Mr France was Chancellor of the University of Auckland from 2009 to 2012, during the public phase of New Zealand’s most successful fundraising campaign, “Leading the Way”. He had been Pro-Chancellor for the preceding two years and a member of the University Council from 2001 when he chaired the Finance Committee.

He has been a member of the Business School Advisory Board and is a trustee of the University of Auckland Foundation and a past officer of the University of Auckland Residual Trust.

Mr France is also a trustee of the Dilworth Trust Board and on the advisory panel of the NEXT Foundation. In 2009 he was awarded a Fellowship of the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants for “outstanding contribution to the accountancy profession and service to the community”.

He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 New Year Honours in recognition of his services to business.