It was a day that was inevitable . . but also unequalled in its expressions of love and support for the much loved Otago Law School Dean Dr Mark Henaghan, who retired this week after more than 40 years’ at his beloved law school. And appropriately, it was a Family Law lecture and Laws 101 which saw the Dean witness the family that he had helped develop: some of the country’s leading lawyers, along with those yet to make their mark on their new profession.
Offering his traditional reading of The Happy Prince, students and staff arrived to share the moment and celebrate with him.
SOULS Otago awarded him the first and only SOULS Honourary Life Membership, and then hundreds of students and alumni cheered him on to a gathering at the Union Hall for ‘the Mark Henaghan Song’, forming a guard of honour.
Prof Henaghan is leaving to take up a position as family law lecturer in at the University of Auckland.
He stepped down as the dean of the faculty earlier this year, after holding the role at the law school for 19 years.
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The ODT reported that for his final lecture he read an excerpt from The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde and delivering advice to his class on the importance of collegiality, persistence, being prepared, listening and not being afraid to stand up for what they thought was right, a visibly emotional Prof Henaghan received a standing ovation from his class.
Members of the law faculty then streamed into the lecture theatre to farewell him, with dean Jessica Palmer and Society of the University of Otago Law Students president Tim Austen delivering speeches.