Loughborough Alumni


Jess Reed, Amber Wildgust, Alex Lees and Kate Shone

17 Oct 2019

Alumni support Santander signing event on campus

Santander has signed a new agreement with Loughborough University this week which has secured funding for a further three years in entrepreneurial, educational and employer initiatives for staff and students.

The official signing took place on Wednesday 16 October between the Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Allison and Santander Universities UK Director Matt Hutnell.

The agreement – which is worth £450,000 – was celebrated with a morning of events attended by staff, students and alumni of the University.

It was also held as an opportunity to thank Santander Universities for their continued support, and to show them the impact of their funding so far.

The additional funding will specifically support postgraduate scholarships, sports scholarships, entrepreneurship, employability for widening participant students, mobility awards, the University’s Coach and Volunteering academy, as well as the Student Unions’ Leadership Development Programme.

As part of the event, four alumni came together to form a panel on the theme “Being Your Best Self”, representing Santander internships, entrepreneurship, sport and beneficiaries. The event was also catered by local business Bom Bom Patisserie, founded by alumna Dr Marta Oliveira Child.

The panel discussion was chaired by Matt Hutnell. A former beneficiary of Santander funding and Olympic Programme Coordinator for British Triathlon, alumna Kate Shone, was one of the panellists. She said:

“The Santander scholarship not only helped towards my postgraduate study costs but also gave me the financial freedom to take full advantage of the work experience opportunities I was able to gain through Loughborough University.

“Without my MSc and the work experiences in the sport industry I gained during my studies, I would not be working in elite sport today. It was a catalyst for my successes to date.”

She was joined by alumnus Alex Lees, Founder and Director of Tale Production. He employed an intern who was supported by Santander funding since he founded his business after graduating in 2015. He was keen to discuss how to keep talent local to Loughborough by being clear about what you need in your business and what you have to offer.

Alongside them was alumna Amber Wildgust, General Manager for Aston Villa Women, who shared her passion for Loughborough and students’ ambitious and driven nature. The 2014 Sport and Exercise Science graduate encouraged students to look at how to make themselves stand out from the crowd and take part in everything that Loughborough has to offer.

Finally, recent graduate Jess Reed who is currently an intern at Fusion, shared insights into her experience as a recipient of Santander funding for a summer placement. The funding gave her the opportunity to remain part of the Loughborough community and find full-time employment afterwards. The 2019 graduate also talked about how the team spirit of Loughborough students helps everyone to be their best self.

Santander and University staff

Speaking on behalf of the University at the event, Professor Allison said: “Loughborough University is immensely proud of its relationship with Santander Universities and their generous support over a long period of time.

“Many members of our community have benefitted from Santander’s relationship with Loughborough, providing opportunities that would otherwise have not existed. This new agreement will continue to support a range of activities including advice and resources to businesses start-ups, developing innovative research, helping our athletes reach the top of their game for example. All are aimed at helping individuals develop into the leaders of tomorrow.”

Matt Hutnell commented: “Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK. We are proud to continue our partnership with Loughborough University for a further three years and look forward to working together in providing even more opportunities which will benefit both students and the local community over the coming years.”

Santander have donated more than £2m to Loughborough over the last 11 years, which has impacted on thousands of students and staff members at the institution.

Santander Universities is a division of Santander first introduced in 2007 which maintains partnerships with over 1,200 academic institutions across 20 countries. For more information, visit their website.

Thank you to our alumni who contributed their time and joined us to celebrate the partnership.

Pictured left to right: Jess Reed, Amber Wildgust, Alex Lees and Kate Shone.


+44(0)1509 228497

Hazlerigg Building
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU  UK