Alumni engagement and philanthropy

NOMINATIONS SOUGHT FOR THE ALLSTATE NI GRADUATE, STUDENT AND ALUMNI VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR Multiple plaques of Queen's University Belfast crest on a University branded red tablecloth

22 February 2022

Celebrate the best of Queen’s students and graduates and submit a nomination for Graduate, Student and Alumni Volunteer of the Year.

The prestigious awards return in 2022 and you have until the closing date of Friday 8 April to let us know about the people who you think deserve to be recognised for the amazing things they’re doing.

Over the next six weeks, Queen's alumni, staff and students of the University – along with their friends and family members – are being invited to submit nominations for the Awards.

Making the call for entries for this year’s awards, Queen’s Alumni Officer (Engagement), Andy Nisbet Friel said:

“The awards are an opportunity to highlight the remarkable achievements of Queen's graduates in Belfast and around the world. We welcome nominations for graduates who have made a substantial impact on the arts, sciences, business, sporting or public life – or who have made a significant contribution to the lives of others – and for our students who have done something amazing during their time at Queen’s.

“The standard of nominations is always of the highest level and I anticipate that to be the case this year.  I look forward to receiving submissions that highlight just how wonderful our alumni and students are."

Of the Alumni Volunteer Award, Natasha Sharma, Alumni Relations Manager (Volunteering), says:

“The Alumni Volunteer Award will go to 'the graduate or group of graduates who has (have) committed time to the University in support of its goals, to enhance the student experience or the University’s reputation, to support student recruitment activities, to assist in governance or who have given their time and expertise to provide exceptional support to our students or to our alumni community'.” 

The recipient may have spent a substantial amount of their personal time mentoring Queen’s students, graduates or staff, or providing student placements, may have been involved in University, Association or committee governance, or may have helped us tell the story of next career steps after University by providing a profile or speaking at events, or otherwise supporting the University.

We are delighted to announce that Allstate NI will return as sponsors for 2021/2022, confirming their continued support for the awards until 2025. Allstate NI was established in 1998 to provide a range of innovative, critical business support services to its parent company in the US including technology, data, cybersecurity and finance. The company now employs over 2,400 people in Northern Ireland,

Commenting on the awards, John Healy, Managing Director, Allstate Northern Ireland said: 

“Allstate NI are delighted to sponsor the 2022 Queen’s Student, Graduate and Alumni Volunteer of the Year Awards.

"The Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of outstanding Queen's students and graduates, who have made such a valuable input to life in Northern Ireland and beyond. Allstate NI is testament to the skills, expertise and values of Queen's graduates with many among our own workforce. We’re thrilled to support any initiative that recognise people who show determination, ambition and have contributed to the lives of others; attributes that are at the core of our ethos at Allstate.”

Don’t miss your chance to highlight the work of an inspiring or innovative individual or group of individuals; for full details and to make a nomination for the Allstate NI Queen’s Graduate, Student or Alumni Volunteer of the Year visit the website. 



Previous winners

The current holder of the Alumni Volunteer of the Year title is Andy Wells (LLB Law 1974). Andy's achievements follow years of volunteering contributions to Queen's Boat Clubs and dedication of over 50 years to Queen's rowing, helping to shape the culture and progression of the clubs at Queen's.

The 2021 Queen’s Graduate of the Year was former news reporter Bill Neely (BA Modern History and English) who was recognised for his services to TV journalism during a career spanning 40 years. Bill retired in early 2021 following spells working for BBC, ITN and most recently as Chief Global Correspondent at NBC.

For the first time in its history, the 2021 Student of the Year Award went to a Malaysian student, Yi Kang Choo (LLB Law 2021). Choo's support for his fellow students during the pandemic including his establishment of a task force for international students impacted by Covid-19 and his tenure as the President of the University's Malaysian Students' society (MSSNI).

Following their wins, Bill and Choo joined each other in conversation about their time at Queen’s and the impact the University has had on their lives and careers.  Watch the recording here now.



The Graduate and Student of the Year Awards were launched in 1999 by the Queen's Graduates' Association (QGA) and the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office. Until 2019 the awards received the generous support of First Trust Bank, now rebranded as AIB (NI) who were the first sponsors of the awards.

Acknowledging over two decades of support, and welcoming the new sponsor, QGA President Feargus McCauley, said:

"The QGA is delighted to continue its association with the awards – which say so much about our students and graduates – and to thank Allstate NI for their continued support for the awards.”

The awards judging panel consists of representatives of Allstate NI, the QGA, the University, Queen’s Students' Union and the Development and Alumni Relations Office. Academic qualifications, high office or fame are not prerequisites to winning; the Panel will be looking for nominations that are novel, courageous and innovative.

For enquiries about the Allstate NI Graduate, Student and Alumni Volunteer of the Year Awards please contact Queen’s Alumni Officer (Engagement), Andy Nisbet Friel, Development and Alumni Relations Office, telephone: +44 (0)28 9097 1945. Click here by 08.04.22 to submit an online nomination.

For general enquiries about this story or to submit a graduate news item, please contact

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