The students who are celebrating after all achieving a 2:1 in their degrees, were selected for their hard work and the promise they showed as committed undergraduates, each receiving a £1,000 boost from Sir Bob to support them in their studies at Leeds Beckett.
They were Zackery-Joe Kershaw, Matthew Ellerton and Saeed Saleh Ali Muthana, who studied BA (Hons) Accounting & Finance; David Umpleby who studied, BA (Hons) International Business and BA (Hons) Economics for Business graduate, Billy Haigh.
The scholarship was created by Sir Bob Murray, who qualified as a chartered accountant from Leeds Beckett in 1972, to support high achieving students with the costs of university life.
He pledged £30,000 to support students over five years when he became Leeds Beckett’s Chancellor in 2013. He said that since setting up the scholarship he had taken great delight in following the progress of the scholars, progressing with their studies and embarking on their careers.
Sir Bob, who was reunited with the original five scholarship recipients after they graduated on Monday 24 July, commented: “Education is truly powerful and to be respected. It can change lives and help people fulfil their true potential. It can take them to places and afford them careers that once they only dreamed of.
“I left school at 16 with just one O-level and it took me another ten years of grafting - working full-time and studying part-time to finally qualify as an accountant and graduate from this great university, Leeds Beckett. I didn’t get the opportunity to progress straight to university and know it can be difficult for a lot of students and their families, which is why I get so much pleasure out of rewarding up to five deserving, hard-working and committed students each year with my scholarship programme.
“I feel very proud of all five graduates and all that they have achieved in their time here at Leeds Beckett. They have bright futures ahead of them and I am looking forward to following their careers and successes – for them this is just the beginning.”
Speaking about the Scholarship and how it impacted on his University experience, Matthew Ellerton, said: “The Scholarship really helped with supporting my studies. It was a really nice feeling to receive it and a very satisfying sense of achievement. Beforehand I’d been very nervous and stressed about getting through the year. The Scholarship allowed me to concentrate on my studies and excel.
“The majority of the funds went on my living costs and accommodation, and some of the money on my course books. I also spent some funds on books related to business, but not specific to my course, to help my wider understanding of the field of business.”
Matthew has already secured a job as a Trainee Wealth Advisor with the Devere Group, and will be based in Dubai selling financial services and products.
He said: “I’ll be starting the job in October and I will become chartered in investments and securities. This is the field that I want to go into, and eventually I would hope to learn how to manage client’s investments, and then move up to manage a portfolio of clients. I’m very much looking forward to it.
“I would like to thank Sir Bob because he really helped to get me to where I am now. I would like to truly express how grateful I am – fingers crossed I may have a position lined up by when I graduate, and without his support I may have struggled to achieve my degree and to be going on into my career in business.”