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Published: 07 March 2019

Vice-Chancellor announces winners of 2019 Alumni Awards

We’re delighted to announce that Professor Paul Stone has been named as the Alumnus of the Year for 2019, for his outstanding contribution to the voluntary sector following an exceptional career.

Seven winners of the Alumni Awards
Our winners for 2019

The Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Awards recognise the tremendous impact our alumni have around the world and this year we received an amazing 150 nominations across five categories: Alumni Achievement Award (from which the Alumnus of the Year is chosen), Lifetime Achievement Award, Young Achiever Award, Outstanding Contribution to Society and Outstanding Contribution to Surrey.

The calibre was so high that judging was extremely difficult but the nominations are a great testament to the quality of our graduates and their contribution to society.

Paul, who studied both a BSc and a PhD Mechanical Engineering in the 1970s, enjoyed a 32-year career with Shell and is Independent Director at FuelQuest Inc. and Director of Stone and Associates.

He also has a number of volunteering roles, including fundraising for cancer charities and is chair of Surrey Business School’s advisory board. He is a member of the International Advisory Board at Surrey and mentors both MBA and undergraduate students. As visiting Professor at the Business School, he has given a series of guest lectures.

Our Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Professor Jamie Bartram, who graduated with a BSc in Microbiology in 1985 and a PhD in Environmental and Public Health in 1996. His work to improve the lives of disadvantaged populations through improving water, sanitation, and hygiene has impacted on developed and developing countries worldwide. In 2004 he was awarded the International Water Association ‘Grand Award’ for international leadership in the development and application of evidence-based policy and good practice.

The Alumni Achievement Award recognises a graduate who has made a significant impact in their field or to society in general. Our 2019 winner is Patrick Zhu, who graduated with an MSc in Mobile Communications Systems in 2002. He is President & COO of Sungy Mobile, the world’s leading mobile application provider, with 200 million active users in over 200 countries and regions.

The Young Achiever Award recognises a graduate who has achieved early career success or community service and is a role model for students and younger alumni. Our 2019 winners are Irosha Gunatunga (MEng Civil Engineering, 2015) for her early career success and as a champion for the study of STEM subjects and civil engineering in particular, and Alex Wilson (BSc International Hospitality Management, 2012), who is a leading ambassador for the hospitality sector, on a local and national scale.

The University is pleased to name Mary Dinah (MSc International Hotel Management, 2005) as winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Society Award, which recognises a graduate who has demonstrated a passion and enthusiasm for charitable work and made a difference to society. Mary has made a significant impact on the young people of Nigeria, setting up a network of job centres to help alleviate hardship and poverty and supporting victims of sexual harassment.

Professor Gavin Whichello (BSc Human and Physical Sciences, 1974) is the winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Surrey Award for graduates who have made a significant commitment to Surrey, acting as an ambassador and inspiring students, staff and other alumni. Gavin has made a huge contribution to the University for a number of years, as visiting professor in Surrey Business School, student mentor, advisory board member and PhD scholarship funder.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Max Lu, said: “This has not only been a stellar year but one in which we received the highest ever number of nominations. The standard was extremely impressive and made judging very difficult. Our winners have made big contributions at all levels of society and are wonderful role models, demonstrating real impact.

“I would like to thank everyone who nominated - we are very proud of all of our alumni’s achievements and the talent shown through this year’s awards.”

Full interviews will be published with all of our winners, so watch out on our website and in the annual Forever Surrey magazine in July.