University of Otago

From Academic Kids

University of Otago
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Otago University shield

Motto Sapere aude
"Have courage to be wise."
Established 1869
Chancellor Mr Lindsay Brown
Vice-Chancellor Prof. David Skegg
Location Dunedin, New Zealand
Students 19,000 total

The University of Otago in Dunedin is New Zealand's oldest university. It is the South Island's largest employer and claims to have the world's longest-established annual Capping Show and New Zealand's oldest ballet company.

Founded in 1869, the university opened in July 1871. Its motto is "Sapere aude" ("Dare to be wise"). (The University of New Zealand subsequently adopted the same motto.) The University of Otago Students' Association answers this with its own motto, "Audeamus" ("let us dare").

Between 1874 and 1961 the University of Otago functioned as a College of the University of New Zealand, and issued degrees in its name. However, as a full university in itself, it retained degree-granting powers, but chose not to exercise them. The dissolution of the University of New Zealand saw these degree-granting powers re-activated.

Some of the University's many diverse buildings appear in the following panorama:

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180° view of Dunedin shot from the hills on the west. The university can be seen in front of the large hill to the left. (Enlarge!)

The University clocktower viewed from Castle Street.
The University clocktower viewed from Castle Street.


Administratively, the university is divided into four divisions: Commerce, Health Sciences, Humanities, and Sciences. For external and marketing purposes, the Division of Commerce is known as the School of Business, as that is the term commonly used for its equivalent in North America. Historically, there were a number of Schools and Faculties, which have now been grouped with standalone departments to form these divisions.

In addition to relatively usual university disciplines, the Otago Medical School (founded 1875) remains one of only two in New Zealand (although it now has constituent branches in Christchurch and Wellington. Other Schools not found in all New Zealand universities include Surveying, Pharmacy, Physical Education, and Physiotherapy. It is also the only university to offer training in Dentistry. It was also home to the School of Mines, until this was transferred to the University of Auckland in 1987. Theology is also offered, traditionally in conjunction with the School of Ministry, Knox College, and Holy Cross, Mosgiel.


Many Fellowships add to the diversity of the people associated with "Otago". They include:

In 1998, the physics department gained some fame for making the first Bose-Einstein condensate in the Southern Hemisphere.

The 2004 Government investigation into research quality (to serve as a basis for future funding) ranked Otago in fourth place in New Zealand.

Journal "Science" has recommended worldwide study of Otago's Biochemistry database "Transterm", which has genetic code data on 40,000 species.

Otago was recently ranked 114th from a listing of top 200 institutions in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and within 202-300 in the Shanghai Jiaotong rankings of world top 500 universities.

Colleges and Halls

These residential Colleges and Halls are not as significant in the life of the University when compared with the Colleges and Halls of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge -- with the exceptions of Selwyn and Knox Colleges which do have resident fellows and operate like Oxbridge colleges (with tutorials, formal halls, chapels etc.). As a result some New Zealanders regard them as more prestigious and desirable -- in other words as 'true' "colleges". Selwyn and Knox form separate corporations, apart from the University.

College Founded
Selwyn College 1893 Website (
Knox College 1909 Website (
St Margaret's 1911 Website (
Studholme Hall 1915 Website (
Arana Hall 1943 Website (
Carrington Hall 1945 Website (
Aquinas 1952 Website (
University College 1969 Website (
Salmond Hall 1971 Website (
Hayward Hall 1992 Website (
City College 2000 Website (
Cumberland Hall ? Website (
Toroa House ? Website (

Official list (

Notable alumni and alumnae

Internal Wikipedia links

(with Hall of Residence, if any, in parentheses where known)

External links

External links



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