2017 has possibly been the most exciting period for the College since students first walked through the gates of St Andrew’s over 100 years ago.
The Centennial has made it the most enjoyable year ever, and to be your President during this time has truly been an honour. I have reconnected with people I haven’t seen in years, worked with teachers of my era, and learned the intricacies of running St Andrew’s College through time I spent with the Rector, Chairman of the Board and many staff. It was a very enlightening experience. We are lucky to have such a strong leadership team at the helm of the College and for it to be in such great shape financially.
Foul weather took its toll on numbers at our Annual Dinner in July, with 20 or so people unable to get across or through some of the flooded rivers. However, we still had a very successful night. The quality achievements of our past and present students continues to astound me. We are well represented in the community.
At the Dinner, we presented The Cockram Cultural Award to Slavko Martinov (1988) for his outstanding documentary on the life of the Christchurch Poultry Club called Pecking Order. It is a very entertaining movie which well summed up life in the bird showing world of New Zealand.
The Maginness Memorial Cup went to Caitlin Dore (OC 2014) for her outstanding achievements on the world stage in Para Athletics, originally in shotput and discus, and latterly in javelin. Caitlin is very committed young woman who does St Andrew’s College proud.
The Alister Newton Service award went to Neil Thomson (OC 1957) for his lifetime service to the College and his community, both of which he continues to serve.
I had the pleasure of presenting Val Wells with her badge as an Honorary Old Collegian for 42 years’ service to the College in the Ladies’ Circle and the wider College Community. Val’s floral creations have been at every prizegiving since 1975 and at many other occasions at the College throughout those years.
StAC Rugby 100 was well celebrated on the Saturday 5 August with a hard fought 19–10 win over Christ’s College and an after-match function attended by over 200 past and present players and supporters. It was a great reunion of past First XV players, which covered most years.
I had the pleasure of attending the Auckland Reunion in August, where there was a great turnout of 70 odd and a good spread of ages from 1950 to 2016 leavers. There were some enthusiastic comments about St Andrew’s and the Centenary Celebrations.
I also attended the Two Generation Plus function in October, which was a chance to gather and celebrate the many families who have had multiple generations attend St Andrew’s.
The Gentlemen’s Lunch on Friday 13 October was attended by a record turnout of over 100 guests (who have celebrated their 60 Years On reunion or more). This event is a highlight of the year for many. It was humbling to be amongst a group of St Andrew’s finest, listening to their stories of their time at the College in the bygone years. We have a lot to be proud of when you hear their achievements and the way they perceive the College today.
On Friday 27 October I attended the opening of the Turley Bridge, the new link between the front of Strowan House and our fabulous Centennial Chapel. We are very thankful for the generous donation from Murray, Margaret and the Turley family which made it possible. It was a grand affair with the Preparatory School kapa haka group performing. It was also Grandparents’ Day so there was a large, enthusiastic crowd in attendance.
Gordon Ogilvie’s funeral on Saturday 28 October was a fitting farewell to a fine scholar, teacher, mentor, friend and historian of the College. The Chapel was full and the accolades flowed. It was a very moving experience.
This year we awarded several travel grants, including to Harrison Cooper (OC2016) to film at the Remembrance Tour, and Year 13 students Ben Taylor and Thomas Russell to attend the World Junior Rowing Championships where they won a silver medal. Through the Drummond Trust we also supported Harry Grigg (2014), a fine tenor, to attend a six-week summer school in Italy. We also paid a hardship grant to an earthquake victim struggling to pay their school fees. It is very pleasing to be able to help people where we can.
Old Collegian Isaac Giessen (OC2010) ‘The Blue Rower’, is attempting to row the Atlantic Ocean solo, in December, to raise funds for and awareness of mental health. Give him your support as this is a tremendous feat. Three thousand miles is a long way on your own. Join him on Facebook under the Blue Rower and give him the support he will need.
Communication with our members is my highest priority. It is a huge task to keep track of where our classmates have got to, which is especially true for the older age groups. I feel the younger ones have a massive advantage over us with social media. While it may not be everybody’s cup of tea it is an efficient way of communicating and keeping track of friends and family. Keep your details up to date with our Alumni Manager, Kate Baker. I am looking forward to the release of our new online web base shortly, as it will greatly improve our communication. We are planning to launch our new Class Lists (Stud Book) online early next year. A great deal of work has been done by staff in the Development office in readiness for the launch, painstakingly checking details and cross checking them with the Collegian’s through the years. It has been a very time-consuming task. Many thanks to those involved. There will be some inaccuracies in the primary release and we will rely on you all to report these as you find them.
Finally, with the end of year approaching I am looking forward to welcoming the biggest year group ever to become Old Collegians on Wednesday 6 December. With the festive season approaching be safe and enjoy the break.
Mark W D Mulholland (OC 1973)