Professor Greg Cook addressed a crowd of about 310 graduands and their families on Saturday, inspiring them to aim for the top and look beyond the pay cheque.
Looking back on the time of his own graduation, he realised that he had "wanted the freedom to explore my own ideas, not those of other people" and "wasn’t good at being told what to do by others and sticking to the rules".
He urged graduates not to settle for second best and warned they would "never find true happiness and fulfilment" by doing so. Instead, aim big and seek a place on the international stage.
He cited examples from his own research: "Only by joining the global fight and linking with the international Tb research community can our work in New Zealand be part of something bigger that could lead to the eradication of this disease in humans."
The Microbiology and Immunology students graduating this month are as follows:
Manmeet Bhalla (in absentia), Remy Muhsin, Prashanth Nagesh (in absentia), Hoan Ngo (in absentia), Susan Saila
Jodie Fleming (in absentia), Pramit Patel (in absentia)
Scott Bourke (in absentia), Alec Cross (in absentia), Howard Maxwell (in absentia), Cormac McCarthy, Emilee Williams, Shane Webber (in absentia)
Aleece Andrews (in absentia)
Fauzia Amalia, Isobella Campbell, Hong Cao (in absentia), Julia Conway, Thu Dinh, Daniel Greenblatt, Laura Hughes (in absentia), Lea Mueller, Symraina Paney, Francesca Todd Rose
Tamara Boon-Harris, Rory Davies, Thomas Devine, Carmel Donald, Nicholas Donaldson, Finn Dusterwald (in absentia), Shannon Frewen, Beatrice Fulton (in absentia), Natsuko Fushida-Hardy, Christina Gee (in absentia), Mitchell Grant, Madeleine Hayman, Nicholas Lamain, Blair Lowry, Huw Ludemann, Thomas Marshland, Jacob Mills, Laura Mitchell, Mitchell Palmer, Akhmil Smith, Simone Thomas, Sven Tobias-Hunefeldt, Yong Min Yao.