Celebrating the generosity of our donors
December 11, 2019 | Simon Jenkins
University donors joined staff, students and alumni at the Annual Scholarships Reception to celebrate the valuable work of supporters and reflect on the impact scholarships make to the academic and personal growth of students.
The event, held in the Great Hall on Monday 9 December, and hosted by Chancellor Professor Dame Jane Francis, was an opportunity to reflect on everything our donors bring to the University, through funding student scholarships, research, outreach – and a host of other projects. Scholars were able to meet the donors who have funded their scholarships, to talk about the difference the support has made to their studies at Leeds.
“When starting university, I didn’t have the best support system compared to other students,” said second year Sustainability & Environmental Management student Meegan Worcester. “But thanks to the support of Footsteps Fund donors, the Plus Programme and the amazing friends I have made, I have learned to value my time at Leeds much more. None of this would have been possible if I’d not received a scholarship. It gives me the constant encouragement and motivation to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone and striving to challenge myself.”
Second year Criminal Justice and Criminology student George Hobley told guests: “You have allowed me to focus on making a positive start to both my academia and student life.”
In a speech at the event he added: “My philosophy is that it only takes is one person to ignite someone’s potential. Now I fight to be the person who can give hope and inspiration, to allow others their fundamental right to education and the equal opportunities which they deserve. Members of the Leeds community right around the world who give their support to the University are creating opportunities every single day for students to ignite their true potential.”
Stalls manned by University staff at the event highlighted other areas which have benefitted from donors’ generous support, including the range of student opportunities made possible through donations – and research projects in stroke rehabilitation robotics, brain cancer and microbubbles.
Support from donors enabled a group of undergraduates to work with Professor Martin Levesley and his team on the MyPAM robot to supplement physiotherapy and speed up recovery for those debilitated by a stroke. Over the summer the students developed and refined the interactive games at the heart of the MyPAM therapy.
Professor Susan Short, centre, with colleagues Gary Shaw and Sharon Fernandes
A Leeds team led by Professor Susan Short has also benefitted from donors’ support as they investigate new therapies which could one day give genuine hope both to those who have been diagnosed with brain cancer and to their relatives.
Gifts from donors also enabled the recruitment of two PhD students to a Leeds team exploring how microscopic bubbles could be used to treat cancer and other diseases. One student is optimising the use of ultrasound to release drug-loaded bubbles at the site of a disease; the second is working towards using microbubbles to treat antimicrobial resistance.
University Chancellor Jane Francis thanks donors for their support
All have been supported through gifts to the University’s Footsteps Fund, a part of the University’s Making a World of Difference Campaign which is run by the Alumni and Development team. The Footsteps Fund was founded on the principle that all outstanding students should have the opportunity to benefit from, and make the most of, their experience at Leeds, regardless of their background.