The new vice-chancellor of Lincoln University credits his former teachers at Rodney College with helping him become the man he is today.
Professor Grant Edwards especially recalled mentor John Cavander, whanau teacher Paul Hudson, maths and biology teacher Ross Cornes and Ian Bradnam.
“My teachers were really influential in defining me as a person. They gave me a really positive outlook on education and further study,” he says.
Prof Edwards went on to become Dux and head boy at Rodney College in 1986.
He grew up on a beef farm, just outside Wellsford, which is still owned by his family.
He says that background sparked his interest in agriculture, but his decision to study the subject at Lincoln was partly motivated by his passion for playing and coaching hockey, which had an especially strong following in the Canterbury region.
Prof Edwards was further inspired by his university lecturers who showed how the application of research could make a real difference to agricultural practice.
After completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree with honours in 1990, Prof Edwards was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and studied behavioural ecology at Oxford University.
He returned to Lincoln in 2004 to take up a senior lectureship in plant science and in 2009 was promoted to professor. Three years later he became head of Department of Agricultural Sciences.
Prof Edwards has a special interest in dairy production systems – looking at ways of reducing nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time ensuring dairy farms remain profitable.
For the last two years he has been deputy vice-chancellor and will take over the vice-chancellor position on January 1.
Prof Edwards will effectively be the “chief executive” of the university, responsible for leading and directing its academic and other staff.
Although he will no longer lecture, he will continue with several dairy research projects.
Lincoln University chancellor Bruce Gemmell says Prof Edwards’ outstanding leadership qualities were key in getting him the appointment.