Development & Alumni Relations Office 



NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR THE ALLSTATE NI GRADUATE, STUDENT AND ALUMNI VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR Multiple plaques of Queen's University Belfast crest on a University branded red tablecloth

02 March 2021

The search is underway for the 2021 Queen’s Graduate, Student and Alumni Volunteer of the Year, with the closing date for award nominations set for Friday 30 April.

The 2020/2021 call for nominations coincides with the announcement of a new sponsor - Allstate NI - for the prestigious awards. Now with over 2,400 employees in Northern Ireland, Allstate NI was established in 1998 to provide a range of innovative, critical business support services to its parent company in the US including technology, data, cybersecurity and finance.

Commenting on the awards, John Healy, Managing Director, Allstate Northern Ireland said: 

“Allstate NI are delighted to sponsor the 2021 Queen’s Student, Graduate and Alumni Volunteer of the Year Awards.

"The Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of outstanding Queen's students and graduates, who have made such a valuable input to life in Northern Ireland and beyond. We’re thrilled to be associated with Awards that recognise people who show determination, ambition and have contributed to the lives of others; attributes that are at the core of our ethos at Allstate.” 

Over the next nine weeks, Queen's alumni, staff and students of the University – along with their friends and family members – are being invited to submit nominations for the Awards.

Making the call for entries for this year’s awards, Queen’s Alumni Officer (Engagement), Andy Nisbet Friel said:

“Once again we are inviting nominations for Queen’s graduates – anywhere around the world – who have made a substantial impact on the arts, sciences, business, sporting or public life – or who have made a significant contribution to the lives of others – and for our students who have done something amazing during their time at Queen’s.

“The last 12 months have been enormously challenging for everyone including our graduates and students.

“With Allstate NI on board we are really looking forward to receiving submissions that highlight, despite everything, just how wonderful our alumni and students are. I would encourage anyone thinking of sending in a nomination to do soon as soon as possible please.”

In another first for 2021, the call for nominations for the Alumni Volunteer of the Year is being issued at the same time as that for the Graduate and Student of the Year Awards and will be judged by the same panel.

As Natasha Sharma, Alumni Relations Manager (Volunteering), says:

“The Alumni Volunteer Award – the winner of which will be announced and presented in June to coincide with Volunteer Week – will go to 'the graduate or group of graduates who has (have) committed time to the University in support of its goals, to enhance the student experience or the University’s reputation, to support student recruitment activities, to assist in governance or who have given their time and expertise to provide exceptional support to our students or to our alumni community'.” 

The recipient may have spent a substantial amount of their personal time mentoring Queen’s students, graduates or staff, or providing student placements, may have been involved in University, Association or committee governance, or may have helped us tell the story of next career steps after University through providing a profile or speaking at events, or otherwise supporting the University.

Previous winners

The 2020 Queen’s Graduate of the Year was Marie-Thérèse McGivern, BSSc Political Science (1976) – Chair of the Belfast Maritime Trust, Non-Executive Director on the Board of NI Water, Non-Executive Director on the Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland and, until March 2020, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Metropolitan College.

Previous Graduate of the Year Award winners include diversity and inclusion leader, Sheree Atcheson (2019), multi award-winning Derry Girls writer and director Lisa McGee (2018) and architect Johann Muldoon MBE (2017).

For the first time in its history, the 2020 Student of the Year Award was presented to a group of over 700 students – all of whom were frontline, final year and graduating students in the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences (MHLS) or in the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

They were collectively acknowledged for ‘selflessly stepping forward to aid the fight against COVID-19 in the community in various locations throughout Northern Ireland’.

The current holder of the Alumni Volunteer of the Year title is InterSim champion, University medical graduate, clinical academic staff member and GP, Professor Gerry Gormley. He was acknowledged for giving of his time to attend events at weekends and evenings, to provide tours to interested individuals and groups, to host visits to the existing clinical skills centre and to lead an event in London for potential donors to the University’s healthcare simulation facility, which will be known as the KN Cheung SK Chin InterSim Centre.

Don’t miss your chance to highlight the work of an inspiring or innovative individual or group of individuals; for full details and to make a nomination for the Allstate NI Graduate, Student or Alumni Volunteer of the Year visit the website. 

The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards were launched in 1999 by the Queen's Graduates' Association (QGA) and the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office, with generous support of First Trust Bank, now rebranded as AIB (NI), who recently completed their sponsorship of the Awards.

Acknowledging over two decades of support, and welcoming the new sponsor, QGA President Victoria Denoon, said:

“We are very grateful to the Bank for endorsing the Awards since their inception 21 years ago, and for celebrating with us in the achievements of so many outstanding Queen's students and graduates, who made – and in many cases continue to make – such a valuable input to life in Northern Ireland and beyond.

"The QGA is delighted to continue its association with the Awards – which say so much about our students and graduates – and to welcome Allstate NI on board as the new main sponsor.”

The Awards judging panel consists of representatives of Allstate NI, the QGA, the University, Queen’s Students' Union and the Development and Alumni Relations Office. Academic qualifications, high office or fame are not prerequisites to winning; the Panel will be looking for nominations that are novel, courageous and innovative.

For enquiries about the Allstate NI Graduate, Student and Alumni Volunteer of the Year Awards please contact Queen’s Alumni Officer (Engagement), Andy Nisbet Friel, Development and Alumni Relations Office, telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 1945. Click here by 30.04.21 to submit an online nomination.

For general enquiries about this story or to submit a graduate news item, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO), Queen’s University Belfast, on telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

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