To celebrate the successes of our second cohort of Gold Scholars, we held a special dinner for scholars, supporters and Alumni Mentors in Bath on Friday 12 April 2019.

Gold Scholarships offer more than financial support; they provide students with opportunities for personal development through volunteering and mentoring. The evening gave scholars a chance to practise the networking skills they have been developing over their first year at University.

Our new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian White FREng, capped his first week at the University by welcoming more than 100 guests and congratulating our Gold Scholars. He said: "I am delighted to recognise the outstanding nature of the Gold Scholarships which not only provide financial support to our Scholars of whom we are so proud, but also the skills, tools and connections to make the very most of their studies."

He highlighted the achievements of our first year Gold Scholars, including taking on - collectively - more than 1,000 hours of volunteering in the city of Bath and beyond, in their first six months at the University.

Many Gold Scholars are already planning ahead for next year, with many taking on leadership positions in clubs and societies, and signing up to peer mentoring programmes, including supporting students with disabilities.

Two have also been awarded ACU Global Summer School grants, which will enable them to attend international summer schools.

The Vice-Chancellor then introduced our guest speaker for the evening, Professor Kevin Fenton (Hon DHealth 2017), who is Senior Adviser for Public Health England.

Professor Fenton spoke to our scholars about developing personal empowerment, which he sees as having three key pillars. The first is the ability to take control of your circumstances and to achieve your own goals. Next is ensuring you’re clear about your own strengths and weaknesses and taking the opportunity to promote your own growth. The last is about enhancing the contributions you make as an individual and as a team.

He said: "As Gold Scholars, you're at an exciting time in your life. You're learning and you're being exposed to a number of different circumstances. You're being encouraged to challenge yourself in many new and exciting ways."

He exhorted the scholars to ask of themselves: "Who am I? What am I supposed to be doing? And how do I make the best use of all the skills and the talents that I have been given to make that difference?"

The Vice-Chancellor then thanked Professor Fenton for his inspiring words, and also thanked our donors and mentors: "We are so grateful to all our mentors for offering your time and wisdom – you are invaluable in helping our Scholars to achieve such success. I also extend warm thanks to our donors; your great generosity means so much to us all, and without you these scholarships simply would not be possible."

Have a look at photos from the event here.