Nicholas Bull Award for the Exceptional Support of the Alumni Community
This award celebrates individuals who go above and beyond in their support of their fellow alumni, making a significant contribution to our flourishing community, either regionally or internationally.
Jonathan O’Brien (Economic and Political Development, 1989) has volunteered his time for the University since 2011 and supported the University through donations as well as serving as Secretary and Treasurer of the University of Exeter US Foundation Board from its inception through to 2019 - a considerable commitment, undertaken entirely in a voluntary capacity. He continues to serve as a member of the Board whilst in a senior role at a New York law firm. The University has benefitted enormously from his support and wise counsel.
"It is both a surprise and a pleasure to have been nominated and then shortlisted for the Alumni Volunteer Award. I am very pleased to see such a variety of backgrounds and experience of the other alumni shortlist nominees, which shows the alumni body to be active and diverse – considerably different from when I first became involved with the University alumni organisation (as the Secretary of what was then called Convocation) over 30 years ago."
Barbara Schudel-Simpson (French and German, 1968) is an active and passionate volunteer who is keen to engage alumni and grow the online alumni community in France and Germany. She is the Country Contact ambassador for the South of France and has been volunteering in this role for several years. During this time she has worked closely with other local volunteers, and has assisted with the planning, organisation, and delivery of networking and social events which have helped grow the Exeter community in France. Due to distances to events in Paris, Barbara has provided critical support of promoting events online via the Facebook group for alumni in France and email to her vast network of Exeter friends. Barbara is active on the Exeter University Club, Comex reunion events which have taken place in Exeter an London, and she also attended events in Germany and is active supporter of the Germany Facebook network group, regularly posting University news and memories.
"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."
Chris Tang (Law, 1996) has provided an outstanding contribution to volunteering in Hong Kong since 2011 through various activities. He is approachable and has been proactive in organising excellent alumni events in Hong Kong with speakers, activities and topics to suit all of the community. This has also included sourcing venues and building the online Hong Kong alumni community. Chris has volunteered as a Career Mentor, answered student career questions as part of the Exepert scheme, and provided profiles and content for web articles. As well as this, he has given strategic advice in the Hong Kong Alumni Group and committed significant amounts of time to volunteering.
"Such a pleasant surprise! I wasn’t expecting to be nominated again for the second year running. The coronavirus pandemic has put us all in a unique situation that has flipped our lives upside down, creating one of the biggest global disruptions in living history. Of course, our health and safety take priority over all else, but let’s not forget that we are uniquely placed to mould a new world from this apparent crisis. I urge all my fellow alumni to look to the positives and use this period to reflect on how you would like to be and how our new world will look like with your active participation."
Yingwei Liu (MSc Finance and Investment, 2012) has volunteered his time for the University since 2016, is a Country Contact for China and one of the most active volunteers on the committee of the Exeter China Alumni Association (ECAA). Since the ECAA’s establishment in 2012, Yingwei has been involved to help it grow into Exeter's largest and most active international network with chapters in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu. Yingwei is highly active in the planning, organisation and has hosted a large number of events across China alongside the ECAA President (Wenjie Li). These events have also included many prospective students, with which Yingwei has with enthusiasm shared his experiences of living and working at the University, with the hope that they will choose Exeter as their place of study.
"It is my honour to be shortlisted for this award. As a member of the alumni community, I remember our motto “we follow the light” and it encourages me in my life. As a volunteer of the ECAA, I hope we can help our alumni develop in China."
Yue Cai (MSc Accounting and Finance, 2013) has been volunteering her time for the University since 2016, is a Country Contact for China and is an ECCA WeChat ambassador. She has consistently provided outstanding support for alumni through a variety of activities and takes the time to help students to solve their problems. She has volunteered at the EQUIS alumni session and set up the WeChat group chat for students and answers their questions. In addition, when the Covid-19 outbreak occurred she helped student flying home to find protective clothing and masks.
"As a University of Exeter graduate, I feel proud to be able to contribute to the development of my university as well as to contribute to the brighter future of the international students."