Contribution of alumni authors recognised

01 December 2021 | News

The work of two authors, alumni and former Rural Field Cadets, which helped document the rich history of Lincoln University, was recognised yesterday.

At a University Council meeting, Chancellor Bruce Gemmell awarded Vince Ashworth and Bill Harrington Lincoln University medals for meritorious voluntary service supporting the fabric or reputation of the institution.

Vince’s book, A Full Life, chronicles his personal life and public career and provides an enduring autobiographical record of a notable Lincoln University alumnus, his family, friends, and colleagues.

The chapters on Vince’s student years at Lincoln, with photos from the time, are a valuable contribution to the cultural heritage of the university.

He came to Lincoln University as a Rural Field Cadet in 1951 and was awarded a Diploma in Valuation and Farm Management in 1955.

He became an Assistant Field Officer with the Department of Lands and Survey and later branched out as a professional agricultural adviser with a Farm Improvement Club.

In 1960 he established a farm management consultancy, the first of its kind in New Zealand, which grew into the successful firm of Ashworth and Associates: Farm Management Consultants.

He went on to become heavily involved in international agricultural consultancy work, leading in 1976 to an invitation to join the permanent staff of the World Bank as a Senior Agriculturalist. He stayed with the World Bank for 11 years, working internationally.

He was awarded the Bledisloe Medal in 1980 in recognition of his contribution to the University.

Bill was selected as a Rural Field Cadet for the 1954 intake at Lincoln College and was also awarded a Diploma in Valuation and Farm Management.

He too joined the Lands and Survey Department, in Dunedin in 1959, as a Field Officer. He went into the private sector and pursued a valuation career.

He became a visiting lecturer in rural valuation at Otago University, editor of the NZ Valuers’ Journal and was appointed to the Land Valuation Division of the High Court of New Zealand.

As a volunteer he compiled and edited Lincoln and Beyond: Memories of Student Days, Lives We Led covering the RFC intake of 1954, the Intensive Course of 1957 and the Dip VFM year of 1958.

The memories of 31 of his fellow students were brought together and edited by Bill, along with his own reminiscences

In 2015 Bill became Chairman of Lincoln University’s Rural Field Cadet History Group

Under his guidance, the group of dedicated alumni produced the book Herbie’s Boys: A History of the Rural Field Cadet Scheme 1941-1971.

This publication, significant nationally as well as in-house, documents the training scheme that stamped Lincoln’s name and reputation on the New Zealand Public Service for more than three decades.

 It stands as an essential and valued publication in the annals of Lincoln University.

When presenting the awards, the Chancellor reflected on the illustrious careers the two medal winners had enjoyed and said he was proud to count them as esteemed Lincoln alumni.

PHOTOS: Medal winners Vince Ashworth (left) and Bill Harrington.