Alumni Donor inspires Award-winning Geography Student

Andre Bisson

An alumnus of the University has provided current student Andre Bisson with the opportunity to embark on a potentially life-changing piece of work.

Earlier this week André Bisson was formally awarded the R Alison Hunter Prize. This one-off prize has been awarded to supporting a level 3 fieldwork student’s investigation towards their dissertation and was made possible by a donation from Geology alumna Alison Hunter. André’s proposed dissertation "A study of the impacts of beaver reintroduction in Scotland on the ecology and morphology of a fluvial channel" was judged a worthy winner and the prize will help him conduct fieldwork in the Scottish highlands over this summer.

André has always had a keen interest in the environment – he is a guide at Brockholes Wildlife Reserve in Lancashire and a member Sheffield University Conservation Volunteers (SUCV). Although intending to read History at university, he says an Open Day at Sheffield “opened his eyes and highlighted the modern feel of Geography and the fascinating fieldwork that could be done”, and whilst registering for our BA Honours degree, took advantage of the flexibility of the courses at Sheffield, transferring to BSc Honours in level 2.

Andre Bisson receives his awardAlison Hunter (neé Knowles) graduated with BSc Geology (Honours) in 1971. She was the first member of her family to attend university – an experience she describes as “truly life-changing”. As a result of being a beneficiary from a Will herself, Alison decided to make a donation to assist a student to “start on the road to a wonderful life-experience like my own”. After Gift Aid, the award totalled well over £600, which enabled Andre to complete the fieldwork in Scotland that led to his recent award.

Hopefully Alison’s very generous donation might make other alumni consider helping out our current students. As with this prize, even relatively small (but still gratefully received!) donations can make a huge impact for a student. In June this year, the University was delighted to receive its 12,000th individual donation. With these donations from alumni, staff and friends the University has received over £30 million in gifts since 2002. Donations and legacies to the University and more specifically, the Department of Geography, can help support students through Scholarships, staff through grants for research and equipment, and any departmental capital projects.

If you would like to make a donation or leave a legacy to the University or the Department of Geography, please contact David Meadows, Development Officer for Legacies and Individual Giving in our Development and Alumni Relations Office on 0114 222 1073 or e-mail

Further Information

For more information on leaving a legacy to the University click here

More information on the Department of Geography

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