"It's the best job in town," new N.U.S. Vice Chancellor says

The new Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) Professor Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma is looking forward to his new role. 

Having been involved with N.U.S. five years ago in setting up the university’s medical school curriculum, Prof. Aiono believes his a calling.

“It is the best job in town,” he told the Samoa Observer. 

“This is because with the new role I will be able to extend my circle of aspiration for Samoa, N.U.S. and also for potential students coming to our doors. I feel this is my calling where I need to assist and build the university to the next level.”  

Prof. Aiono is 61 years old and is married with six children.  He hails from the villages of Vaimoso, Fasito'o, Leulumoega and Moto’otua.

The new V.C. is well connected professionally, not just in Samoa but also around the world. In New Zealand, he is the Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department for the University of Otago and he is also a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Wellington hospital. 

In Apia, he works as Professor for the N.U.S. Medical School and has been assisting the national hospital at Moto’otua on healthcare for pregnant women as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist.   

Prof. Aiono also has a clinic at Moto’otua called Alec’s Home Away. 

However, with his new appointment, Prof. Aiono said he would have to resign from his work in New Zealand. 

 “I know the role in Samoa is going to be full time and so I would give up my work in Wellington sadly,” he said. 

It will be a bittersweet farewell with his workplace in Wellington but he hopes to keep the connections alive, including Otago University and Auckland University, to benefit Samoa and the N.U.S. where possible.  

The new Vice Chancellor was the founding Professor at the N.U.S. School of Medicine. He was also a Professor at the Wellington School of Medicine as part of the University of Otago. 

In addition, he left Samoa some years ago to set up his own private practice in Auckland specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

He received his M.B.B.S. degree from the University of P.N.G. in 1982 before pursuing his M.B.A. degree in 1999 MBA from the University of Keele in the United Kingdom. 

He is also the Chief Editor of two Pacific Health journals – Pacific Journal of Reproductive Health (founder) and the Pacific Health Dialogue.

During an interview with Minister Loau, he said Cabinet approved the appointment of Prof. Aiono on Wednesday.

 “Cabinet has supported the recommendation from the panel to appoint Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma as the new Vice Chancellor for N.U.S.,” said Loau.

Loau said the appointment of Prof. Aiono comes at a crucial time as the students of the local university prepare for final examinations. 

 “I believe the new Vice Chancellor has a broad scope of experience both in business and medical field, knowledge and high qualifications that will be essential to the university and its development,” said the Minister. 

“We are grateful to have him on Board and we hope that his transition into his new role will be smooth.” 

According to the Minister there were seven applicants for the V.C. position and only three were shortlisted. Prof. Aiono was the recommended applicant from the interviewing panel. He takes over from Vice Chancellor, Professor Fui Asofou So’o.

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