Why I support the University

Every year thousands of alumni and friends give to the Univeristy providing support to so many of our students. Below, a few of our alumni share why they give to the University and what Southampton means to them.

Featured Story: Anne Strong

Subject: Nursing & Health Visiting, 1968

I have had a very rewarding partnership with the University of Southampton and I am pleased to support the institution which truly directed the path my life has taken since graduation.

I have had a rewarding career in healthcare in a variety of roles – I became a nurse, health visitor and antenatal advisor, and I currently work for UNICEF. I am also a wife, mother and grandmother.

I was born in Southampton and when I came to the University it felt like coming home. My father had also been at the University when it was awarded its Royal Charter in 1952.

My experience at University enabled me to learn to use, and not waste, the freedom that being away from home awarded. I met a whole variety of different people, made some life long friends and I also fell in love!

At Southampton I started to discover who I really was, a process that I now know goes on throughout life but it was being at Southampton that provided me with this positive start.

I give to Southampton because of the experience the University provided for me and for my father. Being at Southampton was a memorable experience that altered my life and I have continued to be impressed with the University’s expansion, its progress and its ethos.

I was lucky to receive funding to support me through my studies and I remain thankful for the impact it had on my ability to succeed. I know that my gifts to the University of Southampton are impacting students in the same way today.

I enjoy giving to the University of Southampton and I am hopeful that my support will mean more individuals feel the same sense of achievement and opportunity that I felt on leaving the University in 1968.

My Donor Story: Natalie Ludgate

Subject & Degree(s) Received: Master of Geology
Graduation Year: 2009

Q: Have you been back to Southampton since graduation?
A: Yes, I came back to the University and contributed to a careers advice panel for undergraduate students.

Q: How did your experience at Southampton help to shape your future?
A: The time I spent at Southampton really helped me to gain confidence as a scientist. I was given support, guidance and the opportunity to explore many areas of interest, which allowed me to make a more informed decision about the career path I chose.

Q: What have you accomplished since leaving the University?
A: The knowledge and skills I obtained at Southampton have helped me to win funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to complete my PhD.

Q: What advice would you give to our current students?
A: Work experience is invaluable. Approach your lecturers and ask if they have any research they need help with. Get as much relevant experience as you can. Look at your C.V. from day one - there are so many opportunities to benefit from while you are at Southampton, use them to build up your C.V.

Q: Why do you choose to support the University of Southampton?

A: The School of Ocean and Earth Science at Southampton changed me from an average ‘C’ grade student into a 1st Class scientist. I think more students should get this opportunity so I give back to support them during their time at University.

Q: What prompted you to make your gift?
A: I had a lovely chat with the student who phoned me and it was good to find out what has changed down at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS). Though I can't give much at the moment, I wanted to give something to show my support.

Q: What might you say to others who are considering making a gift to the University?
A: One big area of the University that needs your support is student field trips. These trips are compulsory and students participate in many trips during their time as a student to receive the best learning opportunities they can. Many of these trips are funded by the students themselves and donations to support projects like this one is just one way that alumni can get involved in supporting today’s students. Anything to go towards this area is going to mean a great deal to our students.

My Donor Story: Helen Elliott

Subject & Degree(s) Received: BA History
Graduation Year: 1972

Q: Why do you choose to support the University of Southampton?
A: It was the most important achievement of my life. Firstly to get to University itself (as a girl from a working class background in the 1960s)and secondly to get a good class degree, which has stood me in good stead for the rest of my life and has been a starting point for all my other studies since. It was really enjoyable, intellectually and socially, meeting really clever people from all walks of life, and learning to be independent. I want to support, in particular, the Library and the History department as I believe strongly in the value of both.

Q: How did your experience at Southampton help to shape your future?
A: I trained and worked as a History teacher for a while but I have not used my degree directly since. However, the intellectual stimulation that History studies gives to one is useful in many careers and I have been a librarian for most of my life where the discipline of rigorous thinking learned at university has been useful.

Q: Have you been back to Southampton since graduation?
A: Once, a couple of years ago, with a friend who lives in Romsey. I visited the library (where I spent most of my time at university!) and had a general look around. It is so different but lovely to see some things had not changed too much.

Q: What have you accomplished since leaving University?
A: I like to think that I have been useful to others in teaching and in helping others to find information for their jobs, and latterly, as a school librarian, helping with literacy.

Q: What advice would you give to our current students?
A: Whilst learning for a future career is important learning is also important for its own sake and the intellectual discipline that thinking gives you. Study because it is enjoyable and work really hard at it because you will never pass that way again. Forget about the money.

Q What would you say to those who might be motivated to give but haven’t yet?
A: It is an investment in the betterment of our society.

My Donor Story: Tim Flood

Subject & Degree(s) Received: Law LLB
Graduation Year: 1995

Tim Flood is an alumnus of the University and donates regularly to the Annual Giving Programme. Once a mature student in the School of Law, Tim found that the education he received at Southampton more than prepared him for a career in Law. We asked Tim about his experience at the University and why he chooses to continually give to his former School.

Q: Why do you choose to support the University of Southampton?
A: When the University accepted me as a mature student (I started my degree just before I turned 30), it gave me an opportunity to put my professional life back on track. I had had two previous careers, and I shall always be grateful to Southampton for that opportunity.

Q: How did your experience at Southampton help to shape your future?
A: I read law because I wanted to become a lawyer. (While this is not a requirement in order to become a solicitor or barrister, I was also looking forward to studying the subject.) One of the side benefits was that my law degree gave me a better basic training in analytical thinking than I had expected.

Q: Do you keep in contact with any of your University friends or fellow alumni?
A: Yes. There was a tight-knit band of mature law students in my year at Southampton and most of us keep in touch. I also try to have lunch with Professor Natalie Lee whenever I can.

Q: Have you been back to Southampton since graduation?
A: Yes. I attend the Law Fair every November. In addition, I shall be assisting with the judging of the First Year moot in January.

Q What would you say to those who might be motivated to give but haven’t yet?
A: If you feel that you have benefited from your time at the University, please do help. Whether you are funding textbooks or helping to enable less well-off students to attend the University, you will ultimately be improving the standard of Southampton graduates, which will in turn reflect well on you.


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Natalie Ludgate

Natalie Ludgate

Annual Giving donor since 2011

Tim Flood

Tim Flood

Annual Giving donor since 2004

Alexander Johnston

Alexander Johnston

Annual Giving donor since 2007