The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award - In honour of the late Mr Peter Downey, FRGS

On Tuesday 18 March, the Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni award was presented in honour of the late Peter Downey (BA Geography 1960 and Dip Ed 1961). Peter’s wife, Jennifer Downey (BA Biblical Studies & Literature and Dip Ed 1961), collected the award in Peter’s honour.

Peter was former Chair of Convocation and he also sat on the Alumni Foundation Committee, which awards grants to student clubs and societies, for ten years.

Medal presentation

The oration took place in the Chancellor’s Room in front of a small audience of guests selected by Jennifer. Miles Stevenson, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations read out a touching account of Peter’s life and described the significant and active contribution he made to his Alma Mater.

Jennifer was presented with the distinguished alumni medal by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Gill Valentine in front of guests that included Mrs Rosemary Boucher, wife of the late Professor Bob Boucher former Vice-Chancellor who the award is named after.

Following the oration and medal presentation, guests were accompanied to the Department of Geography, Peter’s former department, to unveil the memorial plaque that has been displayed in the Geography media suite. The new media suite was funded by the Alumni Fund and named in honour of Peter.

The event was attended by Peter’s family, close friends, members of Convocation and University of Sheffield staff representatives including Professor Jean Grugel, Head of Department for Geography and Professor Gill Valentine, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Social Sciences.

Each year the University selects a former student to receive “The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award.” Last year Peter was chosen to receive the award for the active role he continued to play within the University, particularly through Convocation and the Alumni Foundation, where he helped the University and students over many years. His dedication to the University was outstanding. Unfortunately he passed away in March 2013 before the University could present the award.

The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Award, for alumni of the University, is named in honour of the late former Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Boucher. Professor Boucher had a great interest in alumni relations and gave so much to the city of Sheffield over a period of 40 years. He fully appreciated the important contribution that alumni continue to play in the life of a University and was responsible for establishing the University´s Development and Alumni Relations Office in 2002. The Professor Robert Boucher Distinguished Alumni Awards is awarded to former students as an acknowledgement from their University of their achievements and success.