Massey honours a man of the world

02:51, May 14 2014
Roger Morris
Important contribution: Professor Emeritus Roger Morris has been given the highly esteemed Massey Medal in recognition of his contributions.

When Professor Emeritus Roger Morris received his degree nearly 50 years ago, he expected to simply become a field veterinarian.

But after a career in which he became a world-renowned epidemiologist, Morris has been awarded Massey University's highest honour, the Massey Medal.

Morris received the award at a College of Sciences graduation ceremony in Palmerston North yesterday.

This week more than 1200 students will graduate, including 45 who will receive doctoral degrees, 127 masters and another 1039 who had their qualifications conferred, joining a tally of more than 127,000 alumni.

Retired from Massey since 2008, Morris has been at the forefront of efforts to control outbreaks of disease such as bird-flu virus and mad cow disease.

"I appreciate the recognition for the time I've put in, it's a great honour of my contribution," he said.


Morris said the "recognition by Massey is an important thing to me".

In 1986, Morris was appointed Professor of Animal Health at Massey, where he established the globally recognised EpiCentre - a research, consultancy and training centre in epidemiology, biosecurity, food safety and animal health based in Manawatu. He has undertaken hundreds of international consultancies for world governments and major health organisations including the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

At the ceremony Morris shared his secrets to career success with the new graduates, and told stories of his employment abroad.

"In travelling down from the high Himalayas to the tropical area at the Indian border, each time our way has been blocked at least once by a major rockfall that happened minutes before we arrived, fortunately, and covered the entire road.

"Your university training has prepared you to deal with the rockfalls that will undoubtedly block your personal career paths on several occasions, and just remember that you graduated with enough tools in your toolkit to push them aside and be on your way."

Morris said careers were fairly unpredictable but the students were now prepared for any circumstance or change.

"The important thing to understand is what the students have is an excellent basis for future development," he said.

"They should prepare themselves for any opportunities.

"I've never gone looking for jobs - they came looking for me."

Manawatu Standard