A new, philanthropically-funded position at the University of Waikato, the Dame Malvina Major Chair in Opera, has been established to encourage and support the careers of singers in the region.
The position is named after the university's former senior fellow in music and internationally-renowned opera singer Dame Malvina Major.
The chair in opera role aims to enable the academic the time and space to strategically advance the School of Music and the University of Waikato, while encouraging and supporting singers studying at the University.
It has been funded by Hamilton philanthropists Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher to aid the university's efforts to advance the music department, and to honour the career and contributions of Dame Malvina.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences Professor Patrick Leman says the chair in opera role will help revitalise the university's School of Music and aid aspiring singers studying at the university.
"The university already boasts exceptional teaching and performance spaces, including the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, and our staff are highly qualified professionals active nationally and internationally.
"The new chair in opera will revitalise our presence in the voice teaching space, offering our students the highest quality teaching experience to enable them to achieve excellence, as well as provide ample resources and opportunities for students to reach their potential."
The university has another philanthropically-funded role, the Dr John Gallagher Chair in Engineering, currently held by Professor Mike Duke, supported by the Glenice and John Gallagher Foundation.
Sir William and Lady Judi Gallagher say: "Like Dame Malvina, we have enjoyed a close relationship with the university for many years and we are together very passionate about the arts in our community. It is our hope that the role, and its successful candidate, will further enhance the momentum of the university's music and singing programme and in turn create the opportunities needed for burgeoning singers to realise their ambitions."
The Gallaghers' support of the chair in opera sits alongside a wider legacy of support for the university as the family has contributed significantly in time and money to the development of the university.
Projects include the Don Llewellyn Sports Pavilion, the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship Programme, The Great Race, and the Academy of Performing Arts, which is named in their honour. Sir William also funds an annual masters scholarship in cyber security, worth $30,000.
The new role was being advertised on the university's website and was expected to attract interest from around the world.