Students receive inaugural Peter Hancock Need & Merit Scholarship

17 February 2016

From left to right: Vice-chancellor April McMahon, the scholarship recipients Olu Ashiru, Sabine Klein, and Denitsa Peneva, George Jones, Senior Student Advisor and Louise Jagger, Director of DARO. Olu, Sabine and Denitsa are holding a photograph of scholarship founders Peter Hancock and Patricia Pollard.
From left to right: Vice-chancellor April McMahon, the scholarship recipients Olu Ashiru, Sabine Klein, and Denitsa Peneva, George Jones, Senior Student Advisor and Louise Jagger, Director of DARO. Olu, Sabine and Denitsa are holding a photograph of scholarship founders Peter Hancock and Patricia Pollard.

Sabine Hein, Olu Ashiru and Denitsa Peneva are the inaugural recipients of the Peter Hancock Need & Merit Scholarship fund launched in November 2015 to award scholarships to 'deserving, meritorious, in-need Year 2 Honours students or equivalent in any discipline and of any nationality and who show potential to benefit society through the successful completion of their Honours Degrees or equivalent.'

The major gift endowment worth over £500,000 by alumni and New Zealand residents Peter Hancock and his wife Patricia Pollard (née Trevitt) was made in gratitude for the scholarship Peter was awarded 54 years ago and which has led to his successful global academic and business career.

Sabine, from Cambridge, is currently in her final year at Aberystwyth, studying Plant Biology says that being awarded means that she can build the scientific career that she wants. “The Scholarship means I can further enrich my studies in various ways and ensure my final semester in Aberystwyth progresses successfully. I am currently researching into how we can utilise plants to treat and prevent human diseases such as Alzheimer’s; a neurodegenerative disease and my goal is to study phyto-pharmaceutical sciences at postgraduate level.  I hope that in the future I can continue Peter’s act of philanthropy and help others in exactly the same way.”

Olu, from Keighley, West Yorkshire is also in his final year, and studying Computer Science. He said: “Thanks to the Scholarship, I can focus on finishing my Computer Science degree, spending more time on my dissertation and less on part time work hours which can be distracting.”

Denitsa, who is originally from Bulgaria is studying towards her degree in Psychology. She said: “The thought of financial instability had impaired my motivation and confidence and affected my desire to study. The Scholarship has changed that, it provides me with a solid ground and pillar to lean on so I can focus on my degree. It’s given me a sense of security and happiness because someone believes in my abilities enough to offer me this kind of support.”

The Scholarship selection panel included Professor John Grattan, Acting Vice-Chancellor; Caryl Davies, Director of Student Support Services; George Jones, Student Advisor; Louise Jagger, Director of the Development and Alumni Relations Office;  Lewis Donnelly, Students’ Union President; Ieuan Gregory, Students’ Union Welfare Officer and Steve Lawrence, President of the OSA. Alongside the selection panel Peter and Pat themselves played a key role in deciding the scholarship recipients.

Peter Hancock graduated from Aberystwyth in Geology in 1962.  His career in government, industry and consultancy as an engineering and exploration geologist in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada included discovering new mineral resources and investigating or overseeing major projects. He has been a teacher, lecturer, researcher and author on the perceptions and realities of resource development, leading to a later career as a facilitator in conflict resolution on resource development, environmental, and Aboriginal racial and disadvantage issues.

Peter said: "The key element in making this gift is to give something back to student life and the University that over 50 years ago gave me so much academically, socially and in developing my leadership and business skills. At the same time, I hope it will make a difference through providing scholarships for in need, promising students to enable them to commence rewarding careers that contribute to society and so, in turn, help others."

Louise Jagger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Aberystwyth added:  “The Peter Hancock Need and Merit Scholarship Fund has been developed with Peter and Pat to ensure it will advance the University’s priorities of student success, excellence and ambitions to working to support and retain students from many different backgrounds. Both Peter and Pat took an active role in the selection and will support all three through one-to-one mentoring and networking opportunities that will give our scholarship recipients the boost that they need to make the most of their academic ability.

“We are deeply grateful to Peter and Pat for their generous support of our students. Aberystwyth University has a long history of working in partnership with alumni to support its students and to advance the ambitions of the University, and I know that Peter and Pat will inspire many of our 60,000 community of alumni around the world with their philanthropy and active support."

Applications are now open for the second cohort of students who:

  • Are at risk of being unable to proceed to and/or complete their final year of studies or be under such financial difficulty that it will significantly impact on their studies.
  • Have the potential to achieve a 2:1 Honours Degree or better

Application deadline is 24th February 2016. Further information about the Scholarship Fund, the application form and process and useful FAQs are available on the Student Support website.


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Contacts

Arthur Dafis
Communications and Public Affairs Office
Aberystwyth University
01970 621763 / 07841 979 452 / aid@aber.ac.uk