Alumni Volunteer Awards

For the third year, our Alumni Volunteer Awards once again celebrate all of our amazing volunteers and say thank you to those exceptional individuals who do so much to support us all.

Earlier this year we called on our students, staff and alumni to nominate alumni who deserve recognition for going the extra mile.

2020 Winners!

Staff, students and fellow alumni all came forward to nominate alumni volunteers involved in an array of projects both in the UK and internationally. The judging panel, made up of representatives of all the above groups, are delighted to announce this year’s winners:

Debbie Hill Award for the Exceptional Support of Students

The 2020 winner is Bridget Garrood (Sociology, 1984) for being instrumental in helping set up the LGBTQ+ and Law Exeter student action project. She provided guidance, support and helped connect the group with a network of fantastic LGBTQ+ lawyers. It was Bridget’s passion and commitment, invaluable advice and support with which she helped make the LGBTQ+ and Law Exeter student action project a resounding success, which led the panel to choose her as the overall winner.

Bridget said: “I got in to Exeter on clearing (to do Sociology – which I loved) and can’t imagine life if I had not been encouraged on the phone via the lovely clearing person at Exeter to apply there. I turned up the day before term started and saw the beautiful campus for the first time and I’ve never looked back. This award is lovely news. We may be in lockdown, off campus, in furlough, challenging COVID-19 on the frontline or behind it, but as students, staff and alumni of the University of Exeter, we are all connected by our Exeter links. This connectedness holds us together across generations and around the globe. As a matter of community care and individual self-care, it may never have been more important to close the social and geographic and virtual distance which separates us, especially for those in our more marginalised communities."

Bridget at her graduation with her friends Candy and Jo in 1984

Nicholas Bull Award for the Exceptional Support of the Alumni Community.

2020’s winner is Barbara Schudel-Simpson (French and German, 1968) thanks to her for her many years service as an outstanding Country Contact for the South of France. Her passion, enthusiasm and commitment to Exeter’s flourishing alumni community in France, Germany and the UK stands out as she has tirelessly organised events and mentoring as well as developing the online alumni network.

Barbara said: “‘I have lived abroad for most of my life, which made my four years as a University of Exeter Student (1964-1968) all the more important. On retirement - both as a mother and a teacher - I renewed contact with the University and, in 2013, I became a Country Contact for Exeter University Alumni in France. With the University’s support, events have been organized in France, Germany and the UK and there I have met up with old friends and made new ones. A little work for a lot of pleasure, always worthwhile. I am a firm believer that you get as much, if not more, out of any ‘investment’, as you put in and as far as Alumni ‘work’ goes, this is very true, as far as I am concerned! Over the years, Alumni events have been highlights in my life, not only because I met old friends, from my time, but because I also made new ones - our University was the binding factor. On each occasion, I was made to feel that I was ‘family’ and this is reward enough. This is what motivates me - and this is how I hope others will feel, too. The Nicholas Bull Volunteer Award 2020 came as a surprise, in the midst of the present pandemic and I’m absolutely delighted. It is an encouraging acknowledgment. My thanks to all.”’


Our 2020 winners - Bridget (left) and Barbara (right)

View the 2020 shortlist below!

The Debbie Hill Award for exceptional support of students

The Nicholas Bull Award for exceptional support of the alumni community

The Awards

These awards are named in honour of two long-standing alumni volunteers, formally recognising the commitment and support that they have given us over many years.

The Debbie Hill Award for exceptional support of students

Named in honour of Debbie Coulson (née Hill) (Drama, 2006), People Transformation Lead at Marie Curie, in recognition of her invaluable advice and guidance on the development of our alumni volunteering programme. Her advice and guidance have ensured that our alumni volunteers are engaged in meaningful, satisfying activities and are recognized and celebrated for their incredible work.

This award celebrates individual alumni volunteers who give their time and expertise to provide exceptional support to our students. Volunteers who:

  • Go above and beyond in their support for Exeter students
  • Inspire our students with their passion and commitment
  • Provide invaluable advice and guidance, making an outstanding contribution to our students’ success

This could be in the form of career mentoring for students, taking part in mock interviews, giving a course specific talk to students, supporting a Guild society activity etc.

The Nicholas Bull Award for exceptional support of the alumni community

Nicholas Bull (Chemistry, 1973) has been volunteering his time and expertise for the University of Exeter for two decades. Over the years, he has taken on a wide variety of roles and activities to support our staff, students and his fellow alumni. As a former member of the Alumni Network Group for 10 years, former Chair of the university’s first Fundraising Campaign Board, and former independent member of Council, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that the alumni voice is represented across the university.

This award celebrates individual alumni volunteers who give their time and expertise to support our alumni community, both in the UK and internationally. Volunteers who:

  • Go above and beyond in their support of their fellow alumni
  • Inspire fellow alumni with their passion and commitment to Exeter’s lifelong community
  • Make a significant contribution to our flourishing alumni community, either regionally or internationally

This could be fellow alumni who organise alumni events and activities, work on alumni committees, etc. 

View previous winners: