Students are first recipients in £1m scholarship scheme
(20 October 2010)
The first recipients in a £1m scholarship scheme, established for County Durham students at Durham University by North East entrepreneur and Councillor Bob Young, have received their awards.
The undergraduate students are Conner Brown, of Consett, who will be studying English Literature as a member of St Aidan's College in Durham City, and Rebecca Dodds, from Tudhoe. Rebecca will pursue a degree in childhood education as a resident of John Snow College on the University's Queen's Campus in Stockton.
The Robert Young Scholarship Fund was set up by local entrepreneur and Councillor Bob Young through a £1 million gift made in December 2009, the largest scholarship fund in the history of Durham University.
Scholarships from this fund will support local students who meet Durham's entry requirements but are unable to secure funding for their university education from other sources. Students will receive up to £10,000 per year to pay for undergraduate tuition fees, course costs and living expenses.
Depending on satisfactory academic progress and continued financial eligibility, the University will renew a student's scholarship for every year they study towards an undergraduate degree at Durham University. At least one student each year for the next 32 years will benefit from a Robert Young Scholarship.
Conner and Rebecca were chosen from a large pool of applicants who demonstrated the essential criteria of residency in County Durham, financial need and academic eligibility to Durham University. They also had to submit a personal statement, justify their need for support and explain their reasons for wanting to study at Durham.
Conner, 18, of Generation Place, Consett, studied at St Bede's Catholic School and Sixth Form College, Lanchester, before taking up his place at Durham University.
Conner, who wants to pursue a career as a teacher and published writer, applied for the scholarship because he saw it as a "fantastic opportunity". He said: "'I am over the moon to be awarded with a Robert Young Scholarship.
"To be studying English Literature at Durham University is such an achievement for me and the scholarship is the icing on the cake. It takes away the stress of student loans and gives me the opportunity to fulfil my potential. It means a lot to my friends, family and teachers and I would like to thank Councillor Young enormously."
Rebecca, 18, of Tweed Road, Tudhoe, studied at Durham Gilesgate Sixth Form Centre and Tudhoe Grange Comprehensive School before coming to Durham University. Her career aspirations are to be a primary school teacher.
She said: "I applied for the scholarship because I knew if I was awarded with it I would not have to worry about finances and getting into debt.
"I would like to say a big thank you to Councillor Young for donating the money and everyone who decided on offering me a scholarship. It means the world to me."
Councillor Young said that "my greatest regret is that I did not pursue higher education" adding: "I hope that this scholarship will instil in every County Durham student who has aspirations to go to university a belief that they can go to a world-class university like Durham University, and that this is not beyond their reach."
Durham University Vice-Chancellor Professor Chris Higgins added: "A Durham University education and unique student experience is transformative for all of our students, both during their time at Durham and through the legacy it provides for the rest of their lives.
"Bob's gift will permanently and positively impact the lives of those students in County Durham who qualify for these scholarships. Conner and Rebecca are excellent first recipients of these awards."