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Roger and Sue Whorrod with James Gilbert
Roger and Sue Whorrod with James Gilbert

Press Release - 05 October 2005

Bath graduate sets up scholarship fund for new students

A graduate from the University of Bath is handing over two cheques as part of a new bursary scheme that he has established in order to help new students fund their way through university.

Roger Whorrod, who graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1965, and his wife, Sue, have committed almost £100,000 to support the scheme over the next seven years.

Starting with this year’s intake, two students will be chosen, one from Electrical Engineering, and one still to be chosen, to receive the RB & SE Whorrod Bursary. They will receive £500 each term for the four years of their study, totalling £6,000 by the time they graduate.

The first recipient of the bursary is James Gilbert (who will be studying electrical engineering) and the other is still to be chosen. James was chosen because he is an exceptional student, is the first in his family to study at university and has limited financial resources to rely on.

He received the first instalment of their bursary from Mr and Mrs Whorrod at a special presentation yesterday.

“I would like to thank Roger and Sue Whorrod for their generosity in supporting a new generation of students as they begin their time at the University of Bath,” said Professor Glynis Breakwell, Vice-Chancellor of the University.

“It is wonderful that our alumni recognise the need to support today’s students and I congratulate Roger and Sue for making this example.”

Mr Whorrod said: “Sue and I were never the best students and we were the first members of our families to go to university.

“We gained a lot by going to university and we are keen to encourage young people to study engineering in the UK, and that these young students should find the University of Bath an attractive place to study.

“We are not necessarily interested in supporting the best students but those who will gain the highest level of added value from attending university.

“We would really like others to have the same opportunities that we had.”

The University of Bath has also established the Alumni Fund through which graduates can participate in the continued success of the University and support the aspirations of current and future generations of students.

Alumni can make regular donations to the Fund, which supports students in three areas; scholarships and bursaries, enhancements to the quality of student life and enterprising student initiatives.

So far more than 500 former students have donated £57,000. This year 10 students will receive an Alumni Fund bursary worth £1,000 each and a further nine students will receive an Alumni Fund scholarship of at least £1,000 each.

Biography for Roger and Sue Whorrod

As one of the first students at the Claverton Down site, Mr Whorrod remembers much of the campus being built. He met his wife, Sue, whilst she was training to become a nurse at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, and they were married during his first year at University.

Mr Whorrod captained the rugby firsts and stayed at the University to gain a Masters qualification in electrical engineering, which he completed in 1970.

He then worked for a national electricity company before resigning to take an MBA at Warwick Business School, during which time Sue worked as a sister on night shift to support the family.

After the MBA, he worked as a management consultant for a city-based holding company before becoming Managing Director in the electrical division of Tube Investments in 1974.

Six years later he left to set up his own company in the area of electrical cable management systems for the growing electrical installation markets in the UK and overseas, developing new businesses through the company and acquiring others.

In 2000, he sold the business to a US multinational company, using some of the proceeds to buy Walsall Ltd, a ‘failing’ company manufacturing electrical equipment for hazardous areas.

Five years later, Walsall Ltd is now thriving, with profits growing at 25 per cent each year. Mr Whorrod is now the company’s non-executive Chairman with an added responsibility for product development.

He expects to retire in the next few years, but says retirement is not a prospect he has much interest in.

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