UCLan give out special inaugural awards to “outstanding” alumni for first time

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has named three graduates as the first recipients of the inaugural Alumni Achievement Awards.

By Aimee Seddon
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 4:55 am

The special awards have been established to celebrate the achievements of the university’s global community of more than 200,000 alumni.

Software engineering apprenticeship graduate Jack Bishop and management alumna Sarah Gardner BEM received the UK awards while Sultan al Maskri, who studied BEng Fire Engineering and MSc Fire Safety Engineering at the Preston Campus, accepted the international prize.

All three took to UCLan’s graduation stage last week to receive their trophies and certificates.

UCLan alumni (clockwise) Jack Bishop, Sarah Gardner BEM and Sultan al Maskri received the universitie's first inaugural awards.

British Aerospace software engineer Jack, who graduated in 2019, received his award in recognition of his contribution to science, technology, engineering and maths.

He was one of the first graduates from the course, managing his studies while holding down a full-time job, and is currently responsible for the development of a multi-million-pound Aircraft Health Monitoring System.

Jack, from Hindley, is a Royal Aeronautical Society accredited engineer and in 2021, was selected for the US Programmes Bee Beamont for excellent performance and dedication to the continuous improvement of software development teams.

He said: “I’m truly honoured to receive this Alumni Award. I wasn’t able to attend my own graduation, so I am pleased I got another chance to walk the stage!

“When I think of my time at UCLan I remember the camaraderie of my cohort working together to solve problems with technical assignments or helping one another understand complex topics.”

Sarah, who graduated in 2000, was recognised for undertaking more than 20 years of volunteering and charity work, which started when she was at UCLan.

The Uxbridge mum-of-two works full-time in a senior counter-terrorism role but has also set up three charities; Serving Our Superheroes, Well-being for All, and CHEF – Community Health Education and Food Project.

Since the pandemic, Sarah has trained and volunteered as a vaccinator, care caller and community champion, being awarded a British Citizen’s Award in 2021 and British Empire Medal in 2022.

Sarah said: “My time at UCLan was very special. I’m delighted to receive this award and it’s particularly special to be one of the first recipients. I feel like I'm, in my own small way, contributing towards the University’s history.

“It was so great to return to the University after 22 years and see how it has changed, it was also fun to re-visit some old memories.”

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Sultan, who completed his undergraduate in 2006 and master’s in 2008, was honoured for his significant contribution to industry and work with UCLan to enhance the student experience.

The fire engineer has established his own company, Tenable Fire Engineering Consultancy, in Oman, one of the largest specialist fire engineering consultancies in the Middle East.

The majority of his 50 employees are graduates of UCLan or partner institution, International College of Engineering and Management, and his company is sponsoring employees to complete undergraduate and postgraduate fire engineering courses at UCLan.

Sultan, who featured on the Arabian Business Young Achievers 2021 list, said: “I feel honoured to be recognised as it’s been many years since I graduated, and being the first international student is quite thrilling.

“I still feel it’s too good to be true but it gave me a good opportunity to visit UCLan and explore new opportunities and future training and learning opportunities.”

Maggie Wild, UCLan’s Head of Development and Alumni, added: “We’re so proud of our graduates so we wanted to create a special award that recognises those who have achieved great things, whether that be in their profession, or through their work within the wider community.

“The awards are open to all UCLan alumni, including those from predecessor institutions such as Preston Polytechnic and Harris Technical College. The judges were so impressed with the quality of nominations. So well done to all our alumni. You make us proud.”