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IPENZ Foundation Patron – Dr John Hood
Inaugural Patron – William H Pickering

Dr John Hood Hon FIPENZ is the Patron of the IPENZ Foundation.
The late Sir William Pickering was a particularly appropriate choice for the first patron of the IPENZ Foundation as he was one of the world’s most eminent engineers.

Achievements and honours – Dr John Hood Hon FIPENZ

Dr John Hood is President and CEO of the New York-based Robertson Foundation.  He is also a director of BG Group plc and chairman of Matakina Ltd, a New Zealand registered medical imaging software venture.

Dr Hood was admitted as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 5 October 2004.  He was the first person in the institution’s 900-year history to be elected to the Vice-Chancellorship from outside the University’s current academic body.  In the course of his five year term, he was appointed a Business Ambassador by the British government and served on the DTI Advisory Board, as well as serving on a number of university-related bodies.  
Before Oxford, Dr Hood was for five and a half years Vice-Chancellor of the University of Auckland.  During his time there, he served on a number of external bodies, including the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, of which he was Chair from 2002-2004; the Knowledge Wave Trust, which he also chaired; and Universitas 21 Limited and Universitas 21 Global, of which he was a Director. 
He was also a Member of the Prime Minister’s Growth and Innovation Advisory Board and of the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Council; New Zealand Secretary for The Rhodes Trust; Trustee of the Asia 2000 Foundation; and a Governor and Trustee of the King’s School.  Dr Hood has also been a Director of ASB Bank Limited and ASB Group and of the Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd, and Chair of Tonkin & Taylor Ltd. 
Prior to his return to academia, Dr Hood spent 19 years with one of New Zealand’s largest companies, Fletcher Challenge Ltd.  He held a number of senior positions at the company and headed, at various times, its Paper, Building, and Construction arms.

Dr Hood has also been influential in the world of sport, chairing the America’s Cup Task Force and acting as a Governor and Executive Board Member of the New Zealand Sports Foundation.  In 1995, he was engaged by New Zealand Cricket to chair its major operational, strategic and governance review of the sport; and in 1996 he chaired the Prime Minister’s Think-Tank on High Performance Sport. 

Dr Hood took a BE and a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Auckland.  He then came to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar to read for an MPhil in Management Studies.

Whilst Dr Hood is resident in the USA, he will be taking an active interest in the Foundation and we look forward to working with him in the years to come.

Inaugural Patron – William H Pickering

The late Sir William Pickering was a particularly appropriate choice for the first patron of the IPENZ Foundation. One of the world’s most eminent engineers, he had a BE in electrical engineering and a PhD in physics. In his very distinguished international career, he embodied values that are central to engineering, to IPENZ and to the Foundation.

His commitment to scientific and technological innovation and excellence recognised no boundaries – intellectually and literally he reached for the stars. He achieved worldwide fame for his engineering achievements as the director of America’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory – he made the cover of Time magazine twice, when unmanned JPL spacecraft reached Venus, and then Mars.

Achievements and honours – William H Pickering

Under Sir William’s direction JPL notched up many dramatic discoveries and technological achievements. Among them were the Explorer satellites, which discovered the Van Allen radiation belts; Pioneer II, America’s first probe to orbit the moon; and Ranger VII, the craft that first photographed the lunar surface.

His role at the head of JPL required outstanding people skills as well as engineering expertise. Numerous honours came his way, including an honorary knighthood from Britain, in recognition of the international value of his work.

The knighthood was an honorary one, because Sir William had long been a US citizen. So too was his Order of New Zealand, the highest honour under our system, bestowed in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2003.

A Kiwi at heart

While he was an American citizen, and a figure on the international stage, Sir William never forgot his New Zealand roots. He acknowledged them proudly, and credited Canterbury University with preparing him well for his advanced studies in the USA (he completed his qualifications at the California Institute of Technology). And he stressed that only a lack of suitable jobs in New Zealand kept him from returning to work here.

Sir William was extremely generous with his time and energy during his many visits to New Zealand. He lent his name, energy and charisma as a speaker to supporting scientific and technological endeavour in many contexts. IPENZ benefited directly during Sir William’s his last two visits to New Zealand. In 2002, at the age of 91, he delivered two addresses to the IPENZ convention. Then the following year Canterbury University, where he began his studies, conferred on him an honorary doctorate.

“There’s something very special about being honoured in one’s original home,” he said in his 40-minute address, which was received with a standing ovation.

On the wall in IPENZ’s National Office you can see a permanent reminder of Sir William’s generosity – a framed 360-degree panorama of the surface of Mars, photographed by a robotic exploration vehicle. He donated the image to IPENZ during his 2002 visit, and with his death it became a fitting tribute to his memory.