By Guest Blogger, on 5 March 2014
On Tuesday 25 February, the North Cloisters was transformed into an elegant reception venue. The reason for this metamorphosis was the biggest Scholarships and Bursaries Reception UCL has ever hosted.
This annual event, hosted by current scholarship and bursary recipients, celebrates the invaluable impact of philanthropy on the scholarships and bursaries programme at UCL.
Following an introduction by Professor Michael Arthur, President and Provost of UCL, the audience of more than 150 guests, comprising donors, the recipients of the awards and UCL friends and representatives, had the pleasure to listen to speeches from both beneficiaries and benefactors. Each speaker focused on different aspects of philanthropy and what such contributions meant to them personally.
It was incredibly inspiring to hear from the scholarship and bursary recipients themselves. Although all three student speakers came from different backgrounds and faced obstacles of their own, they all shared a sense of gratitude for the support received.
Lindsay Taylor (MSc Cognitive and Decision Science) started with pointing out how the Greenbank Scholarship changed her perception of life and gave her hopes for the future:
“My scholarship has enabled me to commit to studying and furthering myself without additional worries. The options that are now open to me are numerous and I feel that whichever path I choose I have the confidence, skills and motivation to succeed at whatever I do.
“For me this scholarship is about much more than being able to study freely for the next year, it is also about how much my life has changed and how positive I feel towards the future. This change has been made possible through the kindness of people like you and I hope to achieve great things because of this.”
Subsequently, Adriana Moreno (MSc Construction Economics and Management and the recipient of the Wates Giving Award) brought out the far-reaching implications of philanthropy. Originally from Colombia, Adriana declared:
“Today, my yesterday’s dream is my present. I am preparing myself to serve my country and contribute to its continually growing economy thanks to the experience and the knowledge acquired here. You are not only supporting me, but also the future of countries like Colombia, which needs people to learn from mature cultures like yours in order to enrich our own. Now you are touching the lives of many others around me.”
Finally, Felicity Welsh (BA English) spoke movingly about facing health problems and financial difficulties, and how receiving the Reuben Scholarship proved a life-changing experience for her:
“The Scholarships that are offered to students make their futures possible. For me, it’s a future that I’ve been hoping for for a very long time. A future that I believe is actually saving me from what I’d be if I wasn’t here right now. A future where I want to help offer other people a future with a charity teaching the people that slip through the net.
It might seem cheesy but I really do believe that these scholarships show people that may not otherwise know that they are worth believing in and that their futures are relevant.”
Two scholarship and bursary donors, themselves UCL alumni, shared their experience of philanthropy. Trevor Clark (UCL Laws 1990), founder of the Natalie Bursary, talked about his personal experience as a student and emphasised the importance of philanthropy in the contemporary competitive world where students’ opportunities should not be hindered by the financial obstacles.
David Robins (UCL Economics 1971) who established the UCL Robins Bursary, considered the awards a “long-term investment.” Moreover, he expressed his hope that this support would not only enable the students to thrive at the university, but also inspire them to contribute back to the society in the future.
The event was, furthermore, a chance for the students to meet the donors who supported their awards andthank them personally for the support. Many fruitful discussions ensued and this enthusiastic exchange of thoughts and
experiences made the evening a memorable event for all those present.
The Scholarship & Bursaries Reception proved an wonderful opportunity for students and donors alike to celebrate together.
Every scholarship and bursary recipient there knew just how life-changing the generosity of donors is – such support allows people not only to pursue education at one of the world’s leading universities, but also realise their true aspirations and potential.