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Published: 28 May 2019

Celebration evening for Vice-Chancellor's Alumni Awards winners

We were delighted to welcome the 2019 Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Award winners to campus for a celebratory dinner and presentation ceremony. Six of our seven winners were able to join us last week, with their family and friends, to receive their awards from Professor Max Lu, who paid tribute to their many achievements.

Alumni Award winners with Professor Max Lu
0ur 2019 winners with Professor Max Lu

He said: “My warmest congratulations to our winners who have made big contributions at all levels of society and are wonderful role models, demonstrating real impact. We are very proud of all of our alumni’s achievements and the talent shown through this year’s awards.”

Now in their seventh year, the Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Awards honour former students who have made an outstanding contribution in their field or to society.

Our Alumnus of the Year for 2019 is Professor Paul Stone (BSc Hons Mechanical Engineering in 1975 and a PhD Mechanical Engineering 1978) who enjoyed a 32-year career in the Oil Products businesses working for Shell, managing business expansion into countries ... such as Brazil, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. He has supported and assisted Surrey Business School, as a member and now Chair of its Advisory Board and mentors MBA and undergraduate students. He has also been a visiting Professor at the Business School, providing a series of guest lectures.

On learning of the award, he said:  “I was completely flabbergasted but it was a wonderful surprise as I had no idea I had been nominated. My years at Surrey were incredibly happy ones and the University has been a really significant part of my life.”

The winner of our Lifetime Achievement Award is Professor Jamie Bartram (BSc Microbiology, 1985 and PhD in Environmental and Public Health, 1996) who has been recognised for his outstanding contribution work to improve the lives of disadvantaged populations through improving water, sanitation and hygiene in developed and developing countries worldwide. Jamie’s decade-long direction at the World Health Organization changed policy and practice and he was latterly founding director of the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Patrick Zhu (MSc Mobile Communications Systems, 2002) is the winner of the Alumni Achievement Award. Patrick is President & COO of Sungy Mobile, the world’s leading mobile application provider. and mobile advertisement platform and is the top Google Play’s app developer. Its products hit 600 million downloads and monthly active users exceed 200 million in more than 200 countries.

The Vice-Chancellor recognised two of our graduates in the Young Achiever category. Irosha Gunatunga (MEng Civil Engineering, 2015) is section engineer and lead-coordinator for the construction and civil engineering company BAM Nuttall Ltd, Shas been heavily involved in he has been heavily involved in various rail sector projects, including numerous bridge-strengthening projects and building 12 platform extensions in the West Midlands. She is Lead Coordinator of the BAM Ambassadors Scheme which allows BAM Nuttall staff two days a year to volunteer and encourage more young people into STEM careers, especially the civil engineering industry.

Alexander Wilson (BSc International Hospitality Management, 2012) Alex is Reception Manager at Brown’s Hotel in London and a leading ambassador for the hospitality industry, both on a local and national scale. Alex’s most significant achievement has been his appointment as a Government Advisor to the Prime Minister for the launch of the new ‘T-Levels’ being rolled out in 2020-2022. Alex sits on two panels for Business & Administration and Hospitality, giving advice and putting his stamp on how education and training should evolve in the sector.

Mary Dinah (MSc in International Hotel Management, 2005) winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Society Award. She is founder and MD of M.A.D Hospitality and has a passion for connecting people to their dream jobs, setting up Nigeria’s first job centre and providing support to victims of sexual harassment. Mary has received numerous awards, including The British Council Social Impact Award 2017 and the Governor’s Recognition of Outstanding Impact on Youth Award, 2016. In 2018, Mary won the British Council Future Leaders Award and has joined a United Nations committee for providing support for displaced persons worldwide.

The winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Surrey Award is Professor Gavin Whichello (BSc Human and Physical Sciences, 1974), Gavin has made a huge contribution to the University for a number of years and includes significant financial support for a PhD student in the Department of Psychology, becoming a founding member of the Surrey Business School (SBS) Advisory Board in 2016, mentoring postgraduate and undergraduate students and delivering lectures and workshops on the SBS MBA programme to both full-time and part-time students, giving up significant time to make a positive impact on student experience.

Read our winners’ profiles on our website and view photos from the presentation evening.