HAMILTON, NZ - John and Bill Gallagher, two of the Waikato's most well- known businessmen, were honoured by Waikato University this week, when the university bestowed its most prestigious award, an honorary doctorate, on the brothers.
The doctorates come as Gallagher Group marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the family-owned electric fencing manufacturing and engineering firm in Hamilton that Bill Gallagher, with the support of his brother John, has built into the internationally- competitive Gallagher Group. The brothers were honoured at a dinner at the university's Wel Academy of Performing Arts, involving Gallagher family members, Gallagher Group staff and university representatives.
As chairman and chief executive of the Gallagher Group for more than 20 and 30 years respectively, Bill Gallagher has led its development into the largest and most successful private company in the Waikato, and a major employer in the region. John Gallagher has been a director of the Gallagher Group for more than 30 years, having supported his brother Bill to turn the company into a successful international operation, he has also committed much of his time to building a rich and vibrant Waikato community for present and future generations.
Both men are well known for their contributions to the community and the university had many reasons to acknowledge their generosity.
It has benefited in numerous ways from its ongoing relationship with the Gallagher Group through Bill and John Gallagher. The Performing Arts Centre and the Gallagher Great Race are two significant university initiatives due in no small part to the sponsorship and involvement of the Gallagher Group. Ongoing projects include research contracts and student placements, and Bill Gallagher also serves on the Board of Waikato Link, the arm of the university dedicated to commercialising the great ideas generated at the university.
During his career, Bill Gallagher has served on numerous prestigious and influential organisations. He has been elected a Fellow of IPENZ, a Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management, a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Directors, and was inducted into the National Business Review Hall of Fame in 2004. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Waikato Institute of Technology. Bill Gallagher was made a Member of the British Empire in 1987, awarded the Queen's Commonwealth Medal in 1990, and became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1998.
John Gallagher has made a huge contribution to community governance in the Waikato, with a long history of serving on numerous boards, both commercial and relating to the wider community. Presently this includes Habitat for Humanity, the Order of St John and Enterprise New Zealand at both local and national levels, and a host of local organisations. Previously he has been a Waikato Regional Councillor and a Hamilton City Councillor of some 12 years' standing, including a term as deputy mayor, and was also elected to Wel Energy Trust for nine years. He was the founding president of Tourism Waikato and has also served as a Justice of the Peace for many years.
He has served on the University Council since 1990 and has been elected to fulfil the offices of both Pro- Chancellor and Chancellor, serving in these positions consecutively from 1998 to 2006, and he is chairman of the Waikato University Foundation, the charitable trust which raises funds for the university. He has also contributed significantly, in both time and money, to the development of the Don Llewellyn Sports Pavilion, and ongoing support to the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship programme.
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