Skip to main content

2021 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

This year we have two winners and the 2021 winners are:

Naveen Fatima (MSC Human Resource Management, 2018) for volunteering her time to provide mock interviews to students, taking part in the Career Mentor Scheme, supporting the first University of Exeter Giving Day, speaking to recruitment agents about her Exeter experiences, playing an active role in the new MENA alumni network and joining our offer-holder calling campaign.

David Watson, Head of Alumni and Supporter Engagement, said: "Naveen has been particularly active in her volunteering to support Exeter students and the alumni community over the last year. Activities such as mock interviews and mentoring, assisting graduates find jobs, an active presence on LinkedIn with the alumni community, taking part in the Universities first giving day, speaking to recruitment agents about her Exeter experience, playing an active role in the new Middle East and North Africa alumni network, and joining our offer-holder calling campaign – this all plays a huge part in attracting students to Exeter from all over the world, supporting them whilst they are here, and then providing that unique Exeter network after graduating no matter where you are in the world. Your support has been incredible, and we are extremely grateful."

Naveen said: "I'd like to convey my gratitude to the University of Exeter for this most generous award. I am extremely delighted to be a part of the  alumni volunteer community because of Exeter University's exceptional reputation and ongoing support to their alumni around the world, and this award indicates the whole alumni engagement team's trust in my skills. I understand that not many universities place the same value on their alumni's personal commitment as the University of Exeter does. As a result, I am delighted to continue to work for a university that values and encourages its alumni while also appreciating their time."


Virginia Stuart-Taylor (Spanish, Italian with proficiency in Portuguese, 2012) for her work organising an event series for alumnae in 2020 and as a committee member of the Alumnae group, as well as mentoring students through the Career Mentor Scheme, giving careers talks, participating in online open days and taking over the @exeterunilife Instagram account to showcase her career, as well as much more. 

David Watson, Head of Alumni and Supporter Engagement, said: "The diverse range of volunteering activity that Virginia has kindly provided to the University over the last 12 months, and a long time before that, is incredible. Her ongoing Alumnae Group support, speaking at panel events, supporting our students to grow their employability skills, assisting in various student recruitment initiatives, amongst many many other activities she has been a part of, shows her valued dedication to help Exeter and the current students. The panel were in full agreement that Virginia deserved to be a joint winner this year, and the alumni team are very grateful to her for the support she always provides."

Virginia said: "I am both thrilled and honoured to receive this award in recognition of my support for Exeter students! It’s particularly satisfying to be rewarded for something that I happen to really enjoy doing, as it’s equally rewarding for me to help the students and see their early careers start to flourish."


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

2021’s winner is John Gilbert (Economics, 1972) thanks to his work in establishing the Alumni Golf Days which has raised thousands of pounds for the University Golf team, and his time spent working with rowing, cricket, hockey and football alumni to connect the sports alumni community. 

David Watson, Head of Alumni and Supporter Engagement, said: "John is a long-standing volunteering, in particular to the alumni golf network, and his continued efforts to grow the multiple sports alumni networks by organising events and rallying volunteers and donations for student sport has been recognised. This activity plays a huge part in what makes Exeter and the alumni community special. This in turn has a positive effect on growing awareness of other aspects of the alumni community activities for them to be involved with. For this, we are extremely grateful at the University, and the resounding feedback of the panel was that John is an exceptional volunteer and a very deserving winner."

John said: "I was delighted to receive this email which has come as a big surprise. I feel very honoured to have been nominated for the Nicholas Bull Award and to be chosen as the winner by the Awards judging panel. The University has played a very big part in my life and I am delighted to have been able to give back, by bringing alumni across the generations together through sport, and enhance their links once again with Exeter. I am sure through sport these links will continue to grow over time. The award represents a very tangible expression of the times over many years that being part of the Exeter experience has provided me with so many happy memories, while enhancing existing and building new friendships. It has been a great privilege to sit on the Alumni Network Group board and to contribute to making the exceptional happen."


View the 2021 nominees online.