DEAKIN University Australia has conferred upon Fiji-born academic Professor Paresh Narayan the title of Alfred Deakin Professor.
The title, established in 2003 to recognise members of the Deakin University professoriate, is the highest honour the university can bestow on a member of academic staff.
The title is awarded to professors in recognition of their outstanding and sustained contribution to furthering Deakin's research, teaching or learning aims.
In a letter to Professor Narayan on March 19, Deakin University vice-chancellor and president Jane den Hollander advised him of the achievement and said he would retain the title while he held a professional appointment at Deakin.
"You are free to use the title in official university communications and I would encourage you to do this by referring to yourself as an Alfred Deakin Professor," Professor Hollander said. "I extend my warmest congratulations to you on receiving this honour, it is greatly deserved," she said.
Professor Narayan told The Fiji Times that it was a great honour to be conferred the title. He said this meant greater responsibility and maintaining the highest standards. "This is no easy task. I need to continue to work hard," Professor Narayan said. "This is the highest honour a professor can obtain in the profession. Not all professors are conferred with such an honour. I would guess that only one per cent or less professors earn this honour," he said.
"I am the first Fijian and also the first social scientist to earn this title at Deakin so this is an extremely prestigious award."
He added the title would allow him to market and profile Deakin University and the cutting-edge research being done in a broad range of disciplines, including financial economics and econometrics, which he heads at Deakin.
Deakin University's pro vice-chancellor of the Faculty of Business and Law Professor Gael McDonald said the Alfred Deakin Professorship was certainly an accolade "for which we warmly congratulate Paresh upon receiving".
"This is the highest honour the university can bestow upon a member of academic staff and is commonly for recognition of an individual's outstanding and sustained contribution. In Paresh's circumstances, this is in relation to his research," Professor McDonald said.
Deakin's head of School of Accounting, Economics and Finance Professor Barry Cooper said this was the first to be awarded to Business and Law, and the honour credited not only to Paresh but to the school.
"It also confirms the vision both Paresh and myself had in setting up the research-oriented Financial Econometrics Group (FEG)," Professor Cooper said.
Professor Narayan acknowledged the support of his family and his heads at Deakin University.