Alumni engagement and philanthropy

Kilwaughter welcomes 131 first-year Pathway students to Queen's University

POP students gather with donors

Students (L-R): Clodagh McMenemy, Sophie Crumlin, Esha Razak, and Ellie-Jo Taylor join representatives from Kilwaughter and Queen's University.

Friday 21 October 2022

First-year students who have recently arrived at Queen’s through the Pathway Opportunity Programme were officially welcomed to the start of their academic journey by Queen’s University and donor, Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd.

The event at Elmwood Hall celebrated the hard work and determination of the 131 students, many of whom have faced challenges beyond the Covid-19 pandemic to make it to university.

Set up to provide support and opportunity for students from underrepresented backgrounds to fulfil their potential in higher education, the Pathway Opportunity Programme (POP) has helped 400 students achieve a place at Queen’s since it began in 2017

As well as receiving support and guidance before they apply, students are provided with financial support in the form of Year One bursaries, so they can worry less about their finances and focus on their studies.

Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd was the first donor to the programme in 2017, laying the foundations for what is now the Bright Futures Collective, involving many other businesses who support widening participation through financial bursaries.

The generosity of the family-run agricultural and construction company has made it possible for every POP student to receive a £1,000 bursary in their first year, from 2017 until 2024.

Kilwaughter Director, Simon McDowell, said: “As a business, we are very proud of our association with this programme and we are honoured to be able to help make a difference to our youth and through them, make an investment in our collective future.”

Speaking at the event, Professor Ian Greer, Queen’s University Vice Chancellor, said: “I would like to congratulate all 131 of our Pathway Opportunity Programme students for making it to Queen’s. Whatever Pathway you have come through – you richly deserve to be here, on your own merits and so often against the toughest of personal odds.  

"Your perseverance and determination, your grit and dedication – and the support of all those who were prepared to back you – has helped to deliver you a place at one of the UK’s top Russell Group universities.

"You are all now an integral part of a very special cohort who will become the leaders of tomorrow – both here in Northern Ireland and beyond – in the years to come.”

He also recognised the generosity of Kilwaughter Minerals, calling it a huge investment in the education of young people in Northern Ireland, for which the University is incredibly grateful.

For more information on giving to Queen's, or the fantastic projects that donations support, visit the Queen's University of Belfast Foundation Page.

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