June 22, 2012, by David Greenaway
Each year we call for nominations for Alumni Achievement Awards to recognise outstanding accomplishments of our graduates. A specially appointed Panel evaluates the cases submitted and typically selects around ten to receive this recognition.
The 2012 Awards celebration was held last week. Our MC for the evening was Edgar Wallner, a Pharmacy graduate of 1958, who won a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. He orchestrated proceedings expertly, with the humour and panache of a professional presenter.
This year the number and quality of nominations was so strong that the Panel made thirteen awards. Three received Recent Graduate Awards: Emma Barnett, Kevin Hard and Alex Tate; there were eight Special Excellence Awards: Liz Burley, Peter Kendal, Sharon Laws, David Mercer, Rob Moore, Patrick Obath, Mary Williams and a joint Award to Owian Evans, Rebecca Leslie and Daniel Magnus; and the evening was topped off with two Lifetime Achievement Awards: Tim Grandage and David Ross.
Winners had graduated from 1970 through to 2006 and came from every Faculty of the University. Their accomplishments spanned excellence in the creative industries and broadcasting, success in business, sporting achievement, and outstanding public service and volunteering. In one sense the range of areas of achievement was very diverse, but there was a connecting thread across all the awards, a passion to give something back.
For me that was striking, but not surprising. I have always felt that one of the things which marks out Nottingham students is their strong sense of social responsibility, nurtured through an extraordinary range of volunteering activity which takes place on a daily basis. It is a real pleasure to see that sustained beyond graduation, helping shape respected and special leaders.
Full details of the Award winners and their achievements can be found here: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2012/june/alumni-achievement.aspx
The evening after the Alumni Achievement Awards, we held our annual College of Benefactors Dinner at the Royal Society. This is an occasion where we thank some of our most loyal and committed graduates and supporters, but also stimulate discussion and exchange on one of our key priorities.
The theme of this year’s dinner was ‘Sustainability’. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Karen Cox gave an opening presentation on what sustainability means to us as a University community and how it translates into energy policy, traffic management, promoting biodiversity on our Campuses, the construction of new buildings and so on. We have made significant progress in recent years, but still have much to do to gain the widest possible exposure to and involvement in delivering our Environment Strategy, which can be accessed here: www.nottingham.ac.uk/Estates/index.aspx
Sustainability issues also underpin two of the University’s key research priorities: energy sustainability and food security. Presentations on each were given by Professor Greg Tucker and Dr Sean Mayes of the School of Biosciences.
Professor Tucker focused on the challenges of developing sustainable biofuels, a key plank in any strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. He leads a BBSRC funded programme of research at Sutton Bonington where our goal is not to use biomass that competes with demand for food, and would therefore be in conflict with food security, but to use crop waste. You can read more about our energy priority here: www.nottingham.ac.uk/energy/home.aspx
Sutton Bonington is also the hub for our food security research. Feeding a global population set to reach 9 billion in little more than a generation is an even more perilous threat to sustainability than energy security. Dr Mayes offered a compelling account of the way in which our research and knowledge transfer activities, here and through the Crops for the Future Research Centre at the Malaysia Campus, are making a real impact. Further information on food security is available at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/globalfoodsecurity/index.aspx
The College of Benefactors includes in its membership business leaders in both the energy and food and drinks sectors. In addition to providing an excellent basis for a stimulating discussion, these presentations also fed some genuine knowledge exchange.
Professor David Greenaway