UCL News


UCL students celebrate the donors behind their life-changing scholarships

9 March 2017

Shahid Janatmir and Chris Lovejoy, recipients of the Dr John Elliot Undergraduate Bursary and the Joy Bunker Scholarship respectively, recently celebrated the generosity of the supporters who fund them, at UCL's annual Scholarships and Bursaries reception.

UCL students celebrate the donors of their life-changing scholarships As well as bringing together students and their donors, the reception also provided a chance to showcase the diversity of scholarships at UCL and their life-changing impact. 

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 his severely disrupted education, spoke eloquently about the transformative effect securing a scholarship has had on his life.

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Shahid explained that securing a scholarship was his only chance of obtaining a university education, adding, "It is you (donors) 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."

Advancing research

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."

UCL Scholarship and Bursaries event

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.

If you would like to connect with UCL alumni, you can sign up to the UCL Alumni Online Community (AOC) website and avail of a variety of networking and mentoring opportunities.

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