Donor Profiles

Many alumni and friends of the University choose to support us in projects and intiatives across campus, enabling us to further develop as an institution. Whether it's support in the form of a scholarship, or a donation towards our Scholarships fund, whether donations are given in the form of a legacy pledge, or whether a gift is made in the form of a monthly donation to our Student Experience Fund, there are many ways of giving something back to the University. Below are the profiles of just a handful of our donors who have chosen to make the difference at UEA.

An Interview with Dominic Christian (SOC 79)

Dominic Christian studied in the School of Economic and Social Studies at UEA from 1979 to 1982, graduating with a degree in History. Dominic is now co-Chief Executive Officer of Aon Benfield, and is also a shareholder at Ipswich Town Football Club.

The Dominic Christian Scholarship is awarded to a student studing the MA in Medieval History course in the School of History, and will contribute towards the recipient's fees. He is pictured here with the 2014/15 winner of The Dominic Christian Scholarship, Catherine Healy (HIS 14).

Dominic's wife, Kate Birch, has also funded a scholarship at UEA. The Ink, Sweat & Tears Poetry Writing Scholarship supports a student studying for the MA in Creative Writing: Poetry degree course in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing. This scholarship will also contribute towards the recipient's course fees. Kate is an alumna of Toronto University. She has managed Ink, Sweat & Tears, a UK-based webzine which publishes and reviews poetry, prose, prose-poetry and word and image pieces.

Why did you choose to come to UEA as an 18-year-old?

"When I came up for my interview, I really liked the people I met. One of the guys took me to the campus pub for a beer - enough said. I probably wasn't very brave though, given that I was just crossing the border from Suffolk."

What is your favourite memory of UEA?

"There are many. They are numerous and vivid. I studied History, albeit as my Best Man, also from UEA, said of me, 'it was hard enough to remember the events of the fourteenth century when he couldn't remember the events of the night before'." 

How did your UEA experience help you beyond your three years as a student?

"My three years gave me some life-long friends, happy memories, confidence, optimism, a feeling I could compete and an ability to think a bit. I was overconfident, pretty naive and a bit confused. Most of all, I left wanting to prolong being a student. I never imagined for a second I would end up as a suit in the City of London."

What motivated you to get back involved with and donate to UEA?

"Graeme Byrne, Director of Development at UEA, got in touch and told me what was going on. I wanted to help, payback if you like, remember occasionally and have a laugh. My wife, who was a natural academic, also wanted to make a bit of a difference to someone,"

Why did you choose your particular area of support?

"History for me, poetry for my wife, We have each supported MA's. My wife is publishing editor of Ink, Sweat & Tears, a Creative Writing webzine, and has a real interest. I suspect I'm just being vicarious in some way."

Have you enjoyed meeting and getting to know your beneficiaries?

"The people who have benefitted could not have been nicer, more committed or grateful and I am looking forward to meeting future recipients of the awards. It gives me a fantastic excuse to visit the campus, which never fails to bring back old memories."

What would you say to other UEA alumni to encourage them to become involved in a similar way?

"If you enjoyed your time at UEA as a student, you will enjoy your activities around the donor campaign. You will meet some tremendously likeable people. It isn't time consuming and there's no hassle. You will be surprised by how far your experiences and ideas can contribute. We were so lucky. For sure, financially it's tougher today. It's an easy, tangible and enjoyable way of helping. It's a way of saying thank you."

Ian Hunter (SOC 68)

Ian Hunter has pledged to leave a legacy to UEA in his Will. He is now retired after a fruitful and interesting working life in the Further Education sector, initially as a Lecturer, and later as a careers Advisor and Manager.

"I attended a Grammar School in South Yorkshire in the 1960s. The practice of the headmaster was to interview all the sixth formers at the end of lower sixth. My interview in June 1967 was a relatively short one, as he told me that, frankly, both my aims of going to univeristy and to study Geography were unrealistic. He felt that higher education, for someone like me, was an unlikely proposition. He suggested that, if I still insisted on applying, I should only consider the new universities what had recently opened, and to try to read Sociology; both options he thought would attract less competition.

"At the end of the interview I made it clear that I had not changed my mind; consequently he chose the six universities and the courses for me. I left his office more determined to prove him wrong and we never spoke to each other again.

"This interview nurtured a healthy life-long mistrust of people in authority which, ironically, has served me well. I leave part of my estate to UEA as a mark of gratitude, not just for three enjoyable years, but mainly for giving me the opportunity to meet staff and students with more open minds than my headmaster.

"Both my parents were keen on education; however, the opportunity of a university education was not open to them. Hopefully, my gift will go some way to help the next generation to have the kind of high quality, life-changing experience that I had."

Marcus Baldwin (ENV 70)

Marcus Baldwin contributes monthly to the Student Experience Fund.

"I have given to the Student Experience Fund for a number of years now and I suppose it is my small gesture of giving something back to a place which gave me so much at an important stage of my life.

My time at the University of East Anglia (1970-1973) was memorable, not only for the degree in Environmental Sciences, which formed the foundation of my career in planning and development, but also in the part it played in my social and cultural life, then and now. As I get older, I realise that it is people and places which matter most and for me, the University of East Anglia rates highly for both. I am very pleased to support the Student Experience Fund and the principles it promotes."

Barbara Richards (EUR 82)

Barbara Richards has pledged to leave a legacy to UEA in her Will.

"My future gift to UEA is based upon my deep 'thank you' to my tutors. I emerged a different person with a clearer perspective on life. The turning point came for me in 1982, when I was accepted, as a mature student, to the School of European Studies. I had achieved three good quality A-levels - Economics, English and History - in the previous year at a College of Further Education but had not expected university acceptance. I was a lone parent with three children, aged fifteen, thirteen and nine.

"I loved my three years at UEA. It altered my life entirely and opened up new avenues in a future career in Training, firstly with YMCA and then as a Training Co-ordinator with Broadland District Council. My life chances were greatly enhanced. My children and I were more socially mobile. I guess I acted as a role model to two of them in that each gained excellent Honors Degrees leading to well-paid jobs. My time at UEA altered the future prospects of a whole family."

Paul Martin (SOC 00)

Paul Martin contributes monthly to the Student Experience Fund.

"I remember my years spent at UEA with great fondness and am very grateful for the opportunities I was given whilst there. In appreciation of this, I choose to support the Student Experience fund, as a small way of giving something back to the University and to provide support to current and future students. I've been pleased to follow the progress of the University over the years and I would encourage others to donate to the Fund to ensure that this good work continues."

Graham Thurston (SOC67)

Graham Thurston has pledged to leave a legacy in his Will.

"Over 40 years ago, the University of East Anglia, true to its motto 'Do Different', offered a place to a 21-year-old who had no O or A levels, had left school at 14 and was working in a butcher's cold store at Smithfield Meat Market. This opportunity changed my life forever! I regard this donation as a gift from my past to the University's future."

Jim Harding (EAS 82)

Jim Harding contributes monthly to the Undergraduate Scholarships fund, and has previously given on a monthly basis to the Student Experience fund. 

"I was one of the 'guinea pigs' who enrolled with a few other so-called mature students in 1983 to study for a part-time degree in History and Landscape Archaeology. The day a week this afforded me free of teaching P.E. at Fakenham High School was wonderful, but my timing for the five-year challenge, rather less so. With a son of three and another on the way, it was not a quiet household.

"Being presented with my degree in 1987 was a very proud moment. The whole university experience has immeasurably influenced just about everything else I have acheived since. The support I have regularly given to the Univeristy of East Anglia is fairly minimal, but I know it is valued and well employed. Any extra benefits which my contribution provides for the current generation of students I reckon to be money well spent."