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2015 UCL Scholarships and Bursaries Reception

By ucyow3c, on 18 March 2015

pencil-iconWritten by Luana-Maria Totea, Information Management for Business BSc student

Maurice Watkins, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Leon Veal, Samantha Leung and Professor Michael Arthur

Maurice Watkins, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Leon
Veal, Samantha Leung and Professor Michael Arthur

On Monday 9 March, UCL held its fifth annual Scholarships and Bursaries Reception to celebrate the positive impacts of philanthropy. There was a wonderful, vibrant atmosphere as students and guests came together in the North Cloisters for the event, which was a fantastic opportunity for scholars to thank donors for their generosity and support.

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, opened proceedings by welcoming guests and delivered some good news concerning UCL’s developments over the last year. This was followed by several speakers who talked about philanthropy from their personal points of view, emphasising how donors’ generosity has an impact, on a personal, institutional and community level.

The first student speaker, Samantha Leung, a bright and ambitious final-year law student from Canada, shared her experiences of UCL and spoke about the influence bursaries have, both on the individuals themselves as well as the wider community:

“My bursary, kindly and generously provided by the Jirasarunya Family, allows me to take on less paid work during the academic year in order to fund my education. With the extra time I have as a result, I can do more pro bono work: I volunteer in law-related charities and outreach programmes, educating children and youths about the law, as well as giving legal assistance and advice to those in our society who cannot afford legal services.

“…in certain ways, the impact goes even beyond the individuals I give legal advice to. Our society benefits when the people in lower socio-economic classes are not left to fall through the cracks, but are assisted and supported – it gives our society credibility. This is all made possible by my bursary.”

Leon Veal, a second year archaeology student and a recipient of a Rose Bursary, spoke compellingly about how financial support can change the course of students’ lives by allowing them access to further education:

“Before I came here, I was working between 60 and 70 hours per week in order to fund my education. Pursuing college full time alongside full-time work was a struggle for me: despite completing my college diploma with an A* grade, the notion that I had to fund my education meant that the likelihood of attending university was financially implausible.

“The money I have received has not only contributed to the expenses of relocation to London, it has also enabled me to stay in accommodation suitable for my daughter to visit and has allowed me to regularly travel to Plymouth to see her. I cannot emphasise enough how much of a positive impact this bursary has had on the welfare of my family.”

Next, Maurice Watkins, a UCL alumnus who established the Watkins Bursary in 2010 with a view to support those struggling financially, shared his positive experiences of being a donor and expressed his pleasure in being able to meet the students he supports.

The evening’s speeches were closed by Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of UCL Laws, who spoke of the positive impact scholarships and bursaries have on individual UCL faculties and departments. She invited all those present to contemplate the large number of applications UCL receives each year and highlighted that, despite all that is being done, demand still drastically exceeds supply.

The event offered the chance to exchange thoughts, goals and aspirations for the future with our peers and with those who made this all possible. It was also a fantastic opportunity to celebrate philanthropy and remember the core value upon which UCL was founded – that education should be made available to those who had been excluded from it.

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