Generous alumni help students to follow in their professional footsteps

Thanks to the generosity of two successful alumni, students from under-represented groups will have the opportunity to study a career-defined degree at Northumbria University.

Michelle Poole’s Fashion Design and Marketing degree at Northumbria led to a thirty-year career with global footwear brands like Timberland, Converse and Crocs. While Glenn Perry used his Design degree as a springboard for an international video production career, starting In-House Films, which has seen him film in more than 30 countries and counting.

Internationally respected in their respective fields, both Michelle and Glenn attribute their professional success to their alma mater. Now, each has decided to help other young people follow in their footsteps, by generously financing scholarships in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences.

Created as part of Northumbria University’s Higher Education Without Barriers initiative, the scholarships will remove financial barriers that could prevent students from pursuing their professional aspirations. This support is especially important for scholars from under-represented groups, where reduced government funding, fear of debt and low family income can thwart their potential.

Now based in the USA as Brand President for Crocs, Michelle has created a scholarship that will allow one student to pursue the four-year Fashion Design and Marketing degree at Northumbria. As well as personally funding the scholarship, Michelle hopes to be hands-on, meeting and mentoring the students as well.

‘I hope the scholarship provides a chance for someone to have a long and fulfilling career in the fashion industry. Someone who may not otherwise have had the means to put themselves through university but - when you take that barrier away and they add their creativity and their passion for fashion - they go far. Northumbria really changed my life and I hope - by creating this scholarship - I can really change someone else’s.’

Glenn is similarly motivated to break down the financial barriers that prevent talented students from accessing higher education.

Over a 16-year-career Glenn has worked on projects for some of the world’s best-known broadcasters and brands, including the BBC and Discovery channel. Keen to help increase diversity in the film industry, Glenn has committed three years of funding to establish the In-House Digital Marketing scholarship. He explains:

‘What I learned during my degree is still relevant to me on a daily basis when running my own business. My experience at Northumbria University was so formative and fundamental to my career - I want to help someone else benefit from that same experience and impact. I’m absolutely committed to giving back - to the university, the community and the film industry - through this scholarship. I hope to be able to support Northumbria students for many more years to come.’

Asked what her advice would be to other alumni considering paying forward the professional advantage that Northumbria gave them, Michelle says:

‘I would encourage all alumni to think about opportunities to give back. Whether it’s financial or just giving your time and sharing your experience. It can be really daunting to be a student today and figure out which way to go. So don’t undervalue the support that you could provide - either by sharing your experience or making a donation. It could change someone’s life pretty dramatically.’

Scholarships like these are being funded with money raised by the University’s fundraising campaign, Higher Education Without Barriers.

Northumbria is partnering with alumni, businesses, and other supporters to provide a range of financial initiatives, mental health and wellbeing services, and community-based projects, to make participation and progression in higher education more achievable for academically talented students, regardless of their social or economic circumstances.

To find out how your business can get involved, contact James Wilkinson at: james.wilkinson@northumbria.ac.uk


This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Northumbria University .

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