Dame Susan Devoy can now call herself a doctor after she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Waikato University at its Tauranga campus graduation ceremony yesterday.
The newly appointed Race Relations Commissioner joins other high-profile Tauranga residents such as former Port of Tauranga chief executive officer Jon Mayson to be given an honorary doctorate for a lifetime of achievement.
Waikato University Chancellor and former prime minister Jim Bolger conferred the doctorate after the packed auditorium at the Holy Trinity Church heard details of her life's work. It included nine years virtually at the top of world squash.
Dame Susan's work since retiring from the professional circuit has included the Halberg Trust, the New Zealand Muscular Dystrophy Association and TECT.
Dame Susan, 49, told the audience her life had been a wonderful tapestry of experiences. She felt humbled and privileged to receive the doctorate.
"I feel a little bit disingenuous to have not done the hard yards like the people here today."
One of her few regrets was that she did not take the opportunity to get a tertiary qualification, she said.
Dame Susan said her new role as Race Relations Commissioner was to make New Zealand a better place for all. "I am an ordinary person who got the opportunity to do extraordinary things ... You get out of life what you put into it," she said.
A total of 173 Tauranga campus students graduated.
Their degrees were in the arts and social sciences, computer and mathematical sciences, education, law, management, and science and engineering. John Cousins