Your donations matter so much.
Our 2018/19 Donor Impact Report highlights the amazing difference you make to the University, its students, its vast range of research themes and its splendid heritage and culture. Below we are delighted to expand on stories featured in the Report.
Supporting Our Research
Our Cover Story
In 2017 we launched a £4.5 million appeal to develop a world-class Cancer Research Programme and in May 2019 we were thrilled to announce that, thanks to the tremendous support of many donors, we reached this ambitious target. We cannot thank you enough.
Whether you gave £10 or £1 million, it has made a difference. It has allowed us to expand our team of researchers with Professor Valerie Speirs, seen in our cover image, joining us as Chair in Molecular Oncology in 2018. The research that you support will help ensure that cancer patients at the new ANCHOR Centre and Baird Family Hospital will receive the finest care.
Also featuring in our cover photograph is volunteer fundraiser Elaine Shallcross. Earlier in the year, the entire Development & Alumni Relations team was devastated when Elaine lost her battle against cancer. She was one of the many supporters who helped us reach our target which was particularly important for Elaine and to which she was completely dedicated. She lost both her parents to cancer, has a brother who has been successfully treated and was herself diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.
Before losing her brave fight against this horrible and indiscriminate disease, Elaine set herself a target of raising £10,000 for the University’s breast cancer research by knitting and selling a beautiful range of ‘Bressie Beanie’ hats and other items such as fingerless gloves and ear-warmers, as well as a range of gorgeous baby items. Also, with her 69th birthday approaching, she committed to practising and performing a skateboarding trick for her birthday. Her #SHUVITCANCER campaign was an unbelievable success with a whole new audience now interested in her fundraising which had reached almost £40,000 at the time of her death.
Elaine chose to support the University’s breast cancer research after being inspired by Professor Valerie Speirs’ work in identifying biomarkers which Elaine hoped would mean future generations, including her daughters and granddaughter, could benefit from early diagnosis and management resulting in improved survival rates. Elaine also had a great affection for the University, having worked in the library service for nearly 24 years before she retired in 2016.
Thank you so much Elaine. You were and still are an inspiration.
- Supporting Our Students
Amazing Student Experiences
Every year the Development Trust receives significant support from donors around the world who give generously and regularly to enable life-changing opportunities for students through the Student Experience Fund.
Thanks to funding the AU Taekwon-Do Club (AUTKD) was able to subsidise a trip for five members to attend a Taekwon-Do Training Camp in Moffat in June 2019.
Club President, Michelle Truong said “We trained for approximately seven hours per day, both outdoors and indoors, despite it raining during the whole weekend. The training was varied and covered a broad range of Taekwon-Do aspects which all helped improve our current skills. We would start the day with stretching early in the morning and moving on to more intense exercises during the day including sparring, breaking and patterns. The attendees were also encouraged to continue training during the evening, but in a more informal and social setting with the presence of black belts for guidance and advice. Team work was also emphasised during the weekend by incorporating team-building exercises during training and having Taekwon-Do related games during the evenings. There were also students from Dundee University and St Andrews University attending and friendships flourished between the members of the different clubs.
The Student Experience Fund made it possible for the club to subsidise the training camp fees, making the price for our members manageable which encouraged attendance. The committee wanted to provide all members who were enthusiastic with the chance to attend regardless of their economic background and we already have signups for next year’s camp.
If the members would describe the camp in one word it would be inspirational. By the end their techniques had noticeably improved and their motivation was boosted. Our members had a great attitude during the whole weekend and were open to try new things, for instance breaking wooden boards and tiles for the first time. Overall, our members enjoyed the training camp and learned skills useful for their Taekwon-Do journey.
On a final note, the committee is extremely thankful for the funding we received which made it possible for our club to offer this amazing event to our members.”
- Supporting Our Heritage & Culture
Chapel Choir Conquer New York
"Scotland took Manhattan, man" - the words of Sir Ringo Starr after listening to the University of Aberdeen Chapel Choir, conducted by our own composer to Royalty Professor Paul Mealor, perform at the star-studded UNICEF Snowflake Ball in New York in November 2018.
The Beatles legend, along with the other 900 guests, had spent the evening being wowed by the 35-strong student choir who were joined on stage by GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow. Sir Ringo was in attendance to receive the George Harrison Humanitarian Award and the Choir's setlist, with arrangements by Aberdeen alumnus Dr John Frederick Hudson, included Harrison's My Sweet Lord, With A Little Help From My Friends and Here Comes The Sun which closed the evening.
Professor Mealor said "It was a truly fabulous end to our New York tour. Sir Ringo and Olivia Harrison were so brilliantly complementary of our singing and he even said later that we were the best bit of the night. We will never forget it."
The Choir's trip to New York also saw them perform at a choral evensong service at the magnificent Cathedral of St John the Divine. Opera star and Aberdeen honorary graduate Dr Jessye Norman was in attendance for the service and afterwards posed for a photograph with the Choir - a moment made poignantly memorable for those involved following the death of Dr Norman in September 2019.
At a reception at the British Residence in New York, the Choir entertained guests in a celebratin of St Andrew's Day. They enthralled guests with a programme that included arrangements of The Selkirk Grace, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Caledonia.
The Choir's trip to New York showcased wonderfully the rich cultural heritage that exists within the University. It was only possible thanks to the generosity of donors who believe in the power of life-changing experiences to broaden the horizons of our students and we cannot thank them enough.