Development & Alumni Relations Office 


10 September 2019

A recently appointed member of Queen’s School of Law staff – who left secondary school due to bullying by a teacher – has set up a Law Prize to support a Queen’s student from a ‘widening participation’ background.

The Andrew Mark Godden Prize will be awarded each year to a graduate from Northern Ireland who achieves the highest overall mark in their degree in the most recent undergraduate cohort in the School of Law.

Welcoming the latest prize Professor Robin Hickey, Head of the School of Law, said: “Andrew Godden is to be warmly commended for his generous contribution to Queen’s. As a three times graduate of the University, and having come up the hard way to earn his undergraduate, Master’s and doctorate degrees, Andrew’s gift is even more poignant.

“By helping all of us to understand the very difficult challenges that confront people from disadvantaged backgrounds wishing to progress to further and higher education – and by setting up the Godden Prize – Andrew is providing tangible solutions that will help break down barriers and in the process, make a real difference to future generations of Law students.”

Helen Carrick, Head of Major Gifts at Queen’s, said: “Andrew’s experience of University is one of huge achievement, despite all the odds. His contribution certainly validates the University’s approach to widening participation for those from underrepresented backgrounds and will, no doubt, encourage many others to move into higher education.

“In thanking him for setting up this Prize, I hope that Andrew’s contribution is a shining example to others.”

Andrew Godden grew up on the Shankill Road in Belfast, ranked consistently as one of the poorest wards in the United Kingdom and one of the lowest performing areas for educational attainment.

His education was unremarkable until he left secondary school abruptly following bullying by a teacher.

“I was unable to find a job for three years and ended up working as a part-time cleaner,” said Andrew.

Following a chance encounter with The Prince’s Trust and an educational charity, Andrew somehow found his way back into education to finish where he had left off.

He became the first person in his family to go to University, beginning a decade-long association with Queen’s. During this time Andrew achieved three As at A-Level, an LLB (First Class Honours), an LLM (Distinction) and a PhD. And in recent weeks he took up post as a full-time Lecturer at the University’s School of Law.

After attaining his primary degree, Andrew was awarded a James MacQuitty Law Scholarship. “I would have been unable to take my Master’s degree, in the absence of which I could not have gone on to do my PhD or pursue an academic career.

“So I can say with absolute candour that I would not be where I am today had it not been for the MacQuitty Scholarship.

That Scholarship enabled Andrew to take his Master’s without the worry of getting into debt, while allowing him to discover what he was capable of academically.

“After my Master’s I was offered a place on a research degree at Oxford University, but decided to stay at Queen’s and pursue a Doctorate in Public International Law, with a focus on poverty and international development.

“These achievements, made possible by the MacQuitty Scholarship, gave me the confidence to stay in academia as a career move.”

While undertaking his PhD at Queen’s Andrew was closely linked with the Pathway Opportunity Programme (POP), the University’s flagship widening participation (WP) initiative launched in 2016, having been previously involved with the University’s Senior Academy for a year. Pathway gives talented students from under-represented backgrounds an insight into university life, equips them with important knowledge and skills and encourages them to move into higher education after A-Level.

“My time supporting the programme was incredibly rewarding. I wanted to be part of POP so that I could pass on my experience as someone who succeeded at University having entered through a widening access route.

Of his recently established Prize Andrew said: “Very often, people from my background – and under-represented communities more generally – have to overcome additional hurdles to get into university and to work harder to succeed.”

Andrew told the University that he wants to make a difference to the community by helping stakeholders understand the challenges confronting people from disadvantaged backgrounds who wish to progress to further and higher education, and by finding new solutions that help to break down barriers.     

“If a student from a non-traditional background performs particularly well at university, then it shows a level of dedication and effort that surpasses most of their peers.

“I hope that this Prize will recognise these efforts and encourage the winner to exhibit the same dedication in their future career.”

The winner of the Andrew Mark Godden Prize will be announced later this year.

To find out more about funding a scholarship at Queen’s University Belfast, visit the Queen’s Foundation web page or contact Helen Carrick, Head of Major Gifts.

General enquiries about this news story to Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen’s University Belfast, tel: +44 (0)28 9097 5321.

Picture caption (L-R): Professor Robin Hickey, Head of the School of Law, Andrew Godden and Helen Carrick, Head of Major Gifts at Queen’s.   


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