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Outstanding Alumni Awards announced

01 Jul 2019

Four of our outstanding graduates will be recognised during the July graduation ceremonies

Nominations for Outstanding Alumni Awards are taken from across the University community, recognising alumni who have achieved distinction in their field or profession; given exemplary service to the University or wider community; or performed outstanding service of a socially responsible nature.

From the nominees, an award recognising a graduate from each of the three faculties is selected by The University of Manchester Alumni Association Advisory Board.

The winners for 2019 are:

Trishna Bharadia

BA(Hons) European Studies & Modern Languages (Spanish) 2003 Trishna Bharadia is an award-winning chronic illness and disability advocate, advising industry, the third sector and the NHS on how to improve the support, services and information available to patients during their healthcare journeys. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2008 aged just 28, and living with several other chronic conditions, Trishna has since built a formidable reputation in public speaking, consultancy, and writing and reviewing patient-facing health literature. 

Ceremony: Wednesday 17 July 2019 – 4.00pm

Enquiries: Laurin Lemieux (

Dr Robina Shah MBE

BSc (Hons) Psychology 1985; PhD 2008; PGCE 2016 Dr Robina Shah MBE is a chartered consultant psychologist and the director of the Doubleday Centre for Patient Experience in the Division of Medical Education at The University of Manchester.

Robina has held national and international leadership roles with the Department of Health, Ministry of Justice, Royal College of General Practitioners, General Medical Council, Health Education England, and the World Health Organisation. In 2003, she was awarded an MBE for academic services to disabled children.

She is also a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and in 2018 served as High Sheriff for the County of Greater Manchester, a role that represents The Queen as the Ceremonial Head of the Judiciary.

Ceremony: Tuesday 16 July 2019 – 2.00pm

Enquiries: Rebecca Bishop (

Arnold Ekpe

BSc(Hons) Mechanical Engineering 1976; MBA 1979

Arnold is a banker with a truly international reach, transforming the economic outlook of millions of people across Africa through a succession of influential leadership roles at some of the continent’s leading financial institutions. Arnold’s guiding belief, that consumers and SMEs are the engine for future sustainable economic growth in Africa, shaped his career and drove him towards considerable success. 

Now retired, he maintains active links to the industry by supporting aspiring African entrepreneurs and serving on advisory councils and boards. He is the chairman of Baobab, a pan-African microfinance group based in Paris, an advisor to Dangote Group, and a non-executive director of Crown Agents Bank.

Ceremony: Wednesday 10 July 2019 – 12.00pm

Enquiries: Andy Young (

Posthumous award

This year, an additional posthumous award will be made in the Faculty of Humanities.

Rebecca Dykes, BSocSc (Hons) Social Anthropology 2008

Rebecca’s Aunt, Liz Clarke, will accept the award in honour of her niece. 

Rebecca Dykes was a pioneering humanitarian. While studying social anthropology at the University of Manchester, she developed a growing sense of global injustice. After completing her degree, she vowed to do what she could to make a difference. 

In 2014, Rebecca joined the Department for International Development, before working as a research analyst with the Foreign Office, specialising in Iraq and Libya. Having been promoted to programme and policy manager, she travelled to Lebanon, where she focused on improving the lives of Syrian and Palestinian refugees Tragically, Rebecca was killed in Lebanon in December 2017, aged just 30. Her legacy continues to this day through the Rebecca Dykes Foundation and its mission to create stable communities in Lebanon and improve the lives of refugees and vulnerable host communities.

Ceremony: Tuesday 09 July 2019 – 12.00pm

Enquiries: Adil Mohammed (