UCL Campaign


"It's you who change lives"- UCL celebrates philanthropy at annual reception

3 March 2017

UCL celebrated the power of student support and the generosity of supporters who fund them at its annual Scholarships and Bursaries reception. The event brought together donors and the students who benefit at an event that showcased the diversity of scholarships at UCL and their life-changing impact. 

Speakers included first year Chemical Engineering undergraduate student Shahid Janatmir, who arrived in the UK as a young refugee from Afghanistan in 2008 and went on to excel academically despite a new language and a severely disrupted education. Securing a scholarship was his only chance of obtaining a university education due to his family’s financial position, and he spoke eloquently about the far-reaching effect of that support, telling UCL’s donors:

“It is you who change lives. It is you who create stories and it is you who have given me and all the scholars and awardees that are here tonight a chance to live their dreams.”

Watch the video of Shahid’s full speech here.

The event also highlighted that scholarships have an important role to play in advancing research and developing the next generation of researchers. Chris Lovejoy, a PhD Neurology student working on Alzheimer’s Disease, took to the stage to interview the person who is making his research possible – Phil Bunker, a UCL Economics and Geography graduate, who explained why he is passionate about funding Chris’ work:

“My mother died from Alzheimer’s and I thought what a great way to remember her, so the scholarship is named The Joy Bunker Scholarship.”

The relationship that has grown between Chris and Phil has been an extra reward – “Chris sends me pictures of the brain cells he’s growing!” – and he talked of the immense satisfaction of reconnecting with UCL and helping an individual. “In our day everything was paid for, we had it really nice,” he said. “Nowadays it’s much tougher.”

Phil is also a donor to UCL’s new student centre, which will create flexible new learning and social space for over 1,000 students at the heart of the campus. 

Summing up, Lori Houlihan, Vice-Provost (Development) commented: “Supporting talented people to access an excellent education is one of the most direct ways to make a difference to the world. We are so lucky to have students like Shahid and Chris here, and to have supporters who donate to us in so many ways – with financial support, time, expertise, advocacy and enthusiasm. I’m delighted that so many of you could be here tonight to celebrate the impact of what you do.

There are more photos of the event available on our Flickr page

To find out more about UCL’s Campaign and how it is supporting students at UCL, see www.ucl.ac.uk/campaign