An evening of celebration and thanks for our alumni supporters and friends

Alumni Thank You event 2018

We recently welcomed over 100 alumni and friends to our annual Thank You Evening in Firth Hall. The event brought together alumni volunteers and donors to thank them for the support and generosity that they have shown to the University over the past year.

The evening was hosted by Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, Vice-President and Head of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health. Professor Shaw, alongside staff and students, personally thanked guests for the varied and essential support they provide.

The impact of the University’s supporters reaches far and wide. Volunteers alone have given over 12,240 hours of their time, inspiring and mentoring students on career choices, supporting widening participation activities, sitting on industry advisory boards and helping with student recruitment. Last year, donations from alumni, friends and staff totalled over £8 million.

These donations funded a wide range of projects across the University, but one key area of support was for scholarships, funding 165 new undergraduate and 50 new postgraduate scholarships (worth over £900,000) for the brightest and most deserving students, fulfilling their ambitions of a degree from the University of Sheffield.

Many of these scholarship recipients were present, along with other students who have benefited from donations and volunteer activity alike. Over 50 students attended the event to personally thank their supporters.

All students at Sheffield benefit from alumni support, through scholarships, grants to clubs and societies, and volunteer support across a wide range of initiatives aimed to boost their confidence, employability and skills.The evening was a great opportunity for the students to show their appreciation and thanks to donors and volunteers in person.

The evening began with a welcome from Miles Stevenson, Director of Advancement. Miles thanked supporters for their gifts of time and financial donations, and welcomed the students who were keen to share their thanks and experiences with guests.

Nellie's speech Members of our generous audience of alumni and friends

Miles then introduced our University host, Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, who talked about the impact of donations from our the community of supporters and how their kindness makes a real difference to the lives of students. Professor Shaw went on to talk about the impact of the support provided by alumni volunteers; from networking to careers talks, mentoring to business visits and how students have benefitted from drawing on our alumni’s real world, professional experience to develop their employability and skills.

After Professors Shaw’s speech Law student Nellie Wanyama, who had taken part in the City Connections scheme, gave a touching and very personal speech about the incredible importance of alumni support, and its ability to draw out the potential within students.

“City Connections was an amazing experience that not only motivated me, but gave me new hope and confidence to be able to say that I am far more capable that any statistic would suggest, because sometimes it isn’t a lack of capability but a lack of opportunity that holds you back”

Following Nellie’s speech alumnus Paul Infield spoke about his experience as both a volunteer and donor. He talked about his time at Sheffield, his support for scholarships and how much he gained from supporting students to fulfil their potential and knowing what a difference that makes.

Pioneering Alumni Award winner Michael Conroy with Lizzie Ruse Alumni Leadership Award winner Andrew Williams

Next came the Alumni Volunteer Awards. The Pioneering Alumni Award was awarded to Michael Conroy (MA Town and Regional Planning 2016) for for his exceptional work supporting student employability. He has shared his experience and advice to students in multiple ways: delivering talks, attending careers fairs and speed networking events, providing case studies and videos on his career journey since graduating, and even organising virtual tours of his offices. Michael has also facilitated work placements, and has had a fantastic impact on our students.

The Alumni Leadership Award was awarded to Andrew Williams (BEng Metal Science and Engineering 1989) for his involvement supporting both students and academics. Andrew has supported City Connections, acted as a mentor for students on the Careers Service eMentoring scheme and the MBA Careers Safari mentoring in London, and he has lectured at the Sheffield Management School to MSc Leadership and Management Students on Organisational Change.

With the speeches complete our guests were treated to a wonderful performance from the University's Gospel Choir, after which they were left to network and reconnect with each other over drinks and canapes, as well as chat to staff and students who have benefited from their support.

The University of Sheffield Gospel Choir

It was a real pleasure to see so many of our alumni, friends, students and staff at the event and to those of you that couldn’t make it to Sheffield on the day, thank you!

To find out more about volunteering to support student please visit our Alumni Volunteering web pages.

To find more about donating to support scholarships, student experience, and other areas of the University please visit our Donation web pages.

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