525 years of blazing the trail

Trailblazer (n) -  a leader; a trendsetter; a catalyst for change;
someone who builds a better future for others. 

What are your favourite memories of your time at the University of Aberdeen? Perhaps you were part of a society, maybe you broke a story for student newspaper the Gaudie. Many of you performed on stage as part of the Student Show or joined a sports team. Maybe you spent your free time in the Library or out in the field finalising a research project. These activities helped to shape who you are today and helped you to blaze a trail for others to follow.

For students today their University experience is unlike any other. But, as the world slowly returns to normal, you can help a student live university life to the fullest. Your gift to the Aberdeen Alumni Annual Fund will change a student’s life.

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Creating a better experience

University life is more than studying. It is a collection of experiences that help to shape the person you become. But it is only due to the generous donations made by alumni and friends of the University, that students can broaden their horizons by taking part in activities, trips and services both on and off campus.

Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions haven’t stopped our passionate and committed students from wanting to take part in extra-curricular activities. If anything, the current climate has increased the desire to learn and develop new skills. The fallout from the pandemic is likely to impact on job prospects for many, but you can help them leave University equipped with the best knowledge and skills possible.

There are so many important projects your gift to the Alumni Annual Fund will support. I’d like to tell you about Nightline. For the majority, university is a positive experience, however most students experience periods of high stress, anxiety and low mood. Nightline’s purpose is to support those who would like to talk to somebody during these times.

By donating to the Alumni Annual Fund you will be providing the Nightline student volunteers with additional training so they can better help their fellow students who call. You are helping to promote the service to the student body, so they know there is someone to call when times get tough. You will be providing bedding and food for the volunteers who work through the night, supporting students going through difficult times.

We receive hundreds of applications for a wide range of important projects. But we cannot help them all. By making a gift to the Alumni Annual Fund you will be helping more students to widen their experiences and make the most of their time at University with projects such as: 

  • The famous Student Show, which entertains thousands of people and showcases creative stars, many of whom have gone on to fame and fortune on the stage and screen
  • Sports bursaries which allow University of Aberdeen athletes to compete with some of the UK’s strongest sporting universities and chase their sporting goals whilst studying for their degree
  • Helping to develop friendships between people with and without a broad range of intellectual disabilities around the University through the Friendship House

You can read about some of the other important projects that the Alumni Annual Fund supports by clicking here.

Student experiences at the University of Aberdeen

Changing lives with scholarships

For some, the chance of university life is completely out of reach altogether. I’d like to tell you about Stephanie*. Stephanie studied hard at school, but university was out of reach. She grew up in the care system and her experience had an immense impact on her mental health. She struggles with PTSD and worries about how she will make ends meet. An Alumni Annual Fund scholarship will help her pay for sessions with a psychotherapist this semester. It will help her to focus on her studies and reach her full potential.

Your support is critical in offering these life changing scholarships.

Each year hundreds of bright prospective students apply for a scholarship. You can give hope to those who have the talent - but perhaps not the resources - to attend University. Stephanie’s story is one of many, and the applications we read each year are heartbreaking. Currently the Alumni Annual Fund only allows four new students to begin University each year. You can help increase this number and offer more students the chance to start their Aberdeen journey.

A scholarship can make the difference between purchasing the essential equipment for an honours project or having to drop out of classes altogether. It can allow a student to participate fully in their education and remove the disadvantages they face. It will change their future.

The Alumni Annual Fund is one of the most important funds at the University of Aberdeen. It is the legacy of decades of alumni who have made contributions big and small. It is an opportunity to give current and future students the chance to live university life to the fullest. Your gift of any size will give excellent students the chance to thrive at university. You can help to create the trailblazers of the next generation.

Thank you for kindness.

Dr Fiona Kennedy OBE, DL
Trustee and Chair of the Alumni Annual Fund Disbursement Committee


Click to make a regular donation