Husband and wife graduate same day with same degree

26 September 2017
2017 PhD Faculty of Science graduates Francesca Casu and husband Davide Zazzaro (with their daughter)

Francesca Casu and husband Davide Zazzaro like to joke they do everything together so it’s no surprise that today they graduate from the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Science with matching doctorates.

The pair left their home in Italy in 2011 to come to New Zealand as international students and today graduate with a PhD in microbiology and marine biology respectively.

Francesca graduates from the Faculty’s School of Biological Sciences while Davide graduates from the Institute of Marine Science.

The couple are also matching in age, their birthdays within a few days of each other. They raised their four-year-old daughter together while studying.

“We had our daughter during our PhDs and so we also shared the experience of working weekends and nights and caring for her as we studied,” Francesca says.

“We were able to support each other because we both faced similar issues and knew what the other was going through.”

Francesca now works as a Hazards and Containment Advisor and Laser Safety Officer at the University of Auckland’s School of Biological Sciences while Davide also works for the School, as Plant Facilities Manager.

Both love New Zealand and are happy they have made their life here.

“The University is like a second home for us as the three of us spend the majority of our time here, our daughter has been enjoying the University childcare since she was six months old.

“She really loves to learn about Maori and Pacific Islands culture and the teachers really make it a beautiful learning journey so we feel privileged to live here and learn all of this.”

More than 700 students will graduate today from the University of Auckland Faculty of Science including 54 doctoral students.

The School of Biological Sciences congratulates 160 undergraduate and postgraduate students who are either attending the ceremony or receiving their qualifications in absentia.

For more information contact:

Anne Beston I Media Relations Adviser, Communications, University of Auckland

Email:, Tel: +64 9 923 3258, Mobile: + 64 (0) 21 970 089