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New feather in Liam’s cap

CAPTION: Liam Jolliffe accepting his Victoria University Medal of Academic Excellence at his graduation ceremony last Thursday in Wellington PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Beckie Wilson

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One of Victoria University’s highest awards is yet another feather in his hat for a Masterton mathematician.

The former Dux of Wairarapa College, Liam Jolliffe, was awarded the university’s Medal of Academic Excellence at his graduation ceremony last Thursday in Wellington.

This award comes four months before he departs on another academic adventure.

Liam Jolliffe

Mr Joliffe was awarded the prestigious Woolf Fisher Scholarship late last year.

The $300,000 boost will see him travelling to the University of Cambridge to complete a Masters and then a PhD in pure mathematics and mathematical statistics.

The 22-year-old, who attended Opaki School, found out about a month ago that he was to receive the top scholar award at his graduation ceremony. However, he was not aware that the award even existed.

“They don’t actually give it out every year, only when there is a worthy recipient I guess,” he said.

They take into consideration a student’s complete degree, and additional awards they have received.

He won numerous awards for academic excellence while studying at Victoria University in Wellington, gaining a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics.

Before heading overseas in September, Mr Jolliffe is tutoring various maths and physics courses.

He is also doing “self-motivated study” to prepare for the intense four years ahead, such as sitting in on honours classes.

“It’s a bit daunting, not exactly sure what to expect as it is quite a different system to the university here – -but it is exciting as well.”

He will visit family in the UK before starting university on October 1.

Mr Jolliffe’s advice to anyone wanting to excel academically, is to “just find something you enjoy doing”.

“If you enjoy the subjects you’re studying, it comes more naturally. Work hard at it and if you work hard you’ll get the results you deserve.”

After completing his doctorate, Mr Jollife wants to teach back here in New Zealand.

“Hopefully, some sort of academic career at a university back in New Zealand at some stage – that’s the long-term plan.

“I’ve loved my first four years here and would love to come back here,” he said.


  1. A humble young man with academic excellence. Congratulations Liam Jolliffe on your award. An exciting journey ahead of you.

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