Alumni donors celebrate scholar achievements at summer graduation

Tobi Omiyale stands in the centre of the image wearing a graduation cap and gown. Steven is on the left wearing a suit and Sally-Ann is on the right of the image wearing a blue dress. They all stand together in the Billiard Room in the Hazlerigg Building in front of wooden benches. There is a silver-colour university crest on the wall.

L-R: Steven Clarke, Tobi Omiyale, Sally-Ann Clarke.

Scholarships have an incredible impact on recipients at Loughborough, and this year a number of graduating scholars met with their donors at graduation to say thank you and to celebrate together.

One of those scholars was alumna Tobi Omiyale, who has just completed her BSc degree in Management Sciences. She had two donors, alumni couple Sally-Ann and Steven Clarke, and she was the recipient of an Opportunity Scholarship, awarding her with £3,000 a year for three years of study.

Sally-Ann and Steven have been passionate about supporting the next generation of Loughborough graduates for a number of years, and they have had three scholars. They have supported Tobi throughout her Loughborough journey, offering guidance throughout her degree course as well as supporting her philanthropically.  

The Opportunity Scholarship helps students to buy essentials, purchase course-related materials, and help with bills. The money often means that students can focus on their studies more, relieving financial stress. In many cases, student recipients are from low socioeconomic backgrounds or areas where there is low participation in higher education.

For Tobi, who began her time at Loughborough in 2019, the scholarship has opened up a range of opportunities. She has taken up boxing, French and she has now landed her dream job. She also benefited from a placement year within hospitality, the industry she wants to develop her career in.

Passionate about working within hospitality, Tobi is starting as a Revenue Executive with Hilton as part of the EDGE graduate programme. She is ready to put into practice what she has learned on her degree course, and gain new skills and experiences in consulting, feasibility and revenue management.

Tobi shared how the scholarship has supported her throughout her degree:

“This scholarship has opened up so many opportunities for me, in terms of courses and being able to go to career and networking events. Most of all, Sally-Ann and Steven have always shown a significant interest and passion for all the things I tell them about. I look forward to telling them everything I have been up to, and it gives me extra motivation knowing that people saw me and decided I was worth ‘investing’ in.”

Tobi attributes her successes over the last few years at Loughborough in part to the support she received through the scholarship programme. She is grateful to have had “two extra people in [her] support system” who have motivated her, supported her goals and encouraged her to embrace new opportunities.

Sally-Ann and Steven are really proud of Tobi’s achievements. They were delighted to attend her graduation ceremony on Wednesday. The couple said:

“Tobi’s potential has flourished at Loughborough, powered by her enthusiasm, kindness and positive impact on others.”

Scholarships often create close bonds between donor and scholar, and the opportunity for Tobi to celebrate her degree achievements with Sally-Ann and Steven during her graduation this week was a special moment.

Many other scholars celebrated with their donors, too, meeting together for lunch or drinks before marking their official graduations.

We now welcome our graduate scholars into the Alumni Association, where they will join a worldwide community of over 200,000 Loughborough alumni.

Meanwhile, back at the University, we continue to support current and new students with scholarships, with thanks to many alumni and friends around the world.

Last year, a cohort of 54 scholarships were awarded. More than half of the students are from households with an income of less than £10,000 per year. This was the biggest cohort to date, and more donations will go towards scholarships again this year when we hope to welcome tens more scholars to our Opportunity Scholarships programme.

It is the generosity of donors such as Sally-Ann and Steven that means we can offer greater access to education at Loughborough.

Thank you to all of our donors for their generosity and in supporting our students and many congratulations to our new graduates.

If you are interested in supporting Access to Education at Loughborough, you can find out more about scholarships and the Student Success Academy on our Giving website. Our Access to Education programmes are helping to level the playing field by supporting brilliant students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who may otherwise not be able to attend university. If you would like to speak with a member of the team about opportunities to contribute, please get in touch.