Donor Thank You event – Celebrating your Generosity
Over 170 alumni, friends, staff and students joined together in Firth Hall to thank donors for their generosity of the past year alongside recognising and celebrating the achievements made through donations to the University.
Professor Shearer West, Deputy Vice-Chancellor hosted the second annual Donor Celebration Event, on Wednesday 21st October 2015. Professor West alongside other staff and students from the University were able to personally thank donors for their kind support to the Alumni Fund, which has had a tremendous impact for the lives of current and future students at Sheffield.
The combined generosity of donors’ gifts to the University in the past year has totalled around £400,000. Year on year more alumni, staff and friends decide to donate to the University. Over 1,200 donors give regular gifts, ranging from £3 to £100 per month, quarter or year, alongside individuals donating single gifts ranging from £5 to £5,000 and more. All support, at any level, is really valued. Every penny that we receive goes directly towards helping Sheffield students, so all donations make a big difference. Thank you.
Students attending were recipients of scholarships funded by donations as well as representatives from clubs and societies which had benefitted from donation funded grants. The evening was a great opportunity for these groups to show their appreciation and thanks to donors in person.
Following a speech of welcome and thanks from Professor Shearer West, Miles Stevenson, the Director of Alumni and Donor Relations, also gave a speech. Miles briefly explained the history of philanthropy at the University and the impact of donations from the community of supporters we have and that their kindness makes a real difference to the lives of students, many of whom were at the event as well.
An engaging and moving speech was given by student, Shelby Bates. Shelby, who is in her final year of an English Literature degree, is a recipient of an Alumni Fund scholarship. Her speech was a great representation of how alumni funded scholarships can have a huge impact on the entirety of a student’s life, not just their university experience. Living locally to Sheffield her whole life, Shelby always had her heart set on attending the University of Sheffield. Without her scholarship, her university experience would have been very different. It would have been filled with stress and constant worry about money and not knowing what she was going to do until her next loan installment came through. The most touching part of Shelby’s speech was the explanation of how receiving a scholarship had changed her health too. Suffering with ill mental health for all of her adolescent life, Shelby had little confidence in herself. The scholarship changed that and when she was chosen to be a recipient of such a prestigious award, she explained that she was fit to burst with pride.
Shelby’s scholarship gave her breathing room and the opportunity to enjoy her university experience, including spending two months teaching English in universities in Eastern Europe. This experience was life-changing for Shelby and helped her realise that her dream is to teach, at Sheffield hopefully! Shelby now hopes to carry on her studies and complete a Masters at the University of Sheffield.
The University of Sheffield Wind Orchestra received funding worth £450 in February 2015 and wanted to give a performance at the event to show their appreciation for their grant from the Alumni Foundation. A band of 25 students played a short well-known Irish piece from County Derry, which was well received by the audience. The orchestra used their grant for promotion of their concerts whilst representing the University on tour in Berlin, Germany.
Speaking to donors during and after the event, it was great to hear that donors were so pleased to meet students and keep up with current activities. Many alumni and friends went on a campus tour prior to the event, including a tour of the new University building, the Diamond. It is really lovely to know that donors want to give back to their university as an act of gratitude for some of the happiest, most productive and formative years of their life.
‘It gives me a lovely warm feeling to see and speak to students who are enjoying university life and whose experience of it has been helped by donors such as I.’
It was a real pleasure to see so many of our alumni, staff and friends at the event and to those that couldn’t make it to Sheffield on the day, thank you for your kind donations over the past year. Your continued support of the Alumni Fund at the University of Sheffield is transformational for the lives of students here.
Our Donor Celebration Events are annual events so if you would like to attend this year and have not yet made a gift this academic year, please do so today. Donors who set up a regular gift to the Fund become part of the Silver Arrow gift club and receive priority invitations to this event.