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Kings Courier - Summer 2004
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Old Collegian becomes Otago University Vice Chancellor

Professor David SKEGG (Marsden 61-65) has been appointed the next Vice-Chancellor of Otago University, one of the most influencial positions in the city of Dunedin.

Professor Skegg, OBE BMedSc MB ChB(Otago) DPhil(Oxon) MFPHM FAFPHM FRSNZ, an internationally renowned scholar, was most recently Professor of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University.

As a young boy at King’s Prep, David won a scholarship to attend King’s College. He benefited from some excellent science teachers of the time: Edward Dodson (Physics), Jack Monigatti (Chemistry) and Doug Robinson (Biology). In the University Scholarship exams he was 1st in NZ for Biology and 4th for Chemistry. His time at King’s was also marked by involvement in debating and honing his public speaking skills.

He’s spent most of his academic life at the University of Otago.

David spent four years as an undergraduate from 1966 to 1969 at Knox College, which mirrored many of the academic traditions he was used to at King’s.  He was elected President of the Knox College Students' Club  in 1969.  In 1971 he returned as Assistant Master, a position he held for two years.  He was admitted as a Fellow of Knox College in the late 1970s, a position in the College he still holds today.  He has served as a member of the College Council for many years.

On completion of his undergraduate studies, during which he participated in an exchange to Harvard Medical School, he was awarded the Rhodes Scholarship and a Travelling Scholarship in Medicine. He completed his postgraduate studies at Oxford University in 1976 and was appointed as a lecturer in Epidemology, working there under the noted Sir Richard Doll.

In 1980, he returned to Dunedin and took up the chair in Preventive and Social Medicine. At that time, departmental staff numbered less than a dozen. It is now the largest single department at the University, numbering 130, mostly engaged in research.

Professor Skegg is a consultant to the World Health Organisation and has regularly worked for the New Zealand Government. He has chaired the Health Research Council and the former Public Health Commission. He was awarded the OBE in for services to medicine in 1990 and has published more than 140 academic papers.

The Otago Daily Times wrote, “The appointment of David Skegg to this position is inspired. Not only does he have the skills, personality and experience for the tasks ahead; his appointment sends out a clear message about the University’s future.

“Here is no management expert, whizz kid or accounting boffin. Professor Skegg is steeped in academic and international medical reaserch and acclaimed for it. Academics will be pleased that one of their own has been chosen for this influencial position. The new man at the top is both a scholar and a gentleman.”

David’s wife Keren (a Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry) and his older brother Peter (Marsden 58-62), a Professor of Law, are also on the University staff.  David and Peter’s father Donald was on the staff at King’s College from 1947-78.

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