“I have given students enough of a hard time over the years so when I left the University, I wanted to give something back.” Dr Aki Salo made the generous gift of £5,500 to create the Aki Salo Prize for Excellence – an annual award of £250 to the best overall student on the MSci in Sport and Exercise Science course.
“It was very easy to make a donation and specify where I wanted the gift to go after contacting the Department of Development & Alumni Relations,” he added. “As a charity, the University receives 25 per cent Gift Aid and I was able to get tax relief on the donation too, so it wasn’t as costly.”
The first award was presented to Campbell Menzies, who graduated with First Class Honours on Wednesday 9 July.
Campbell said: “I’m honoured to be the first recipient of the Aki Salo award. Being acknowledged in this way makes all the hard work worthwhile – the icing on the graduation cake! The prize money will be useful in buying books for my next venture – studying for a PhD in post-exercise hot water immersion.”
Dr Aki Salo worked at the University for 21 years, joining in 1998 as one of the first lecturers on the new Sport and Exercise Science degree.
During this time he became Director of Studies for BSc Sport and Exercise Science from 2005 to 2008 and led the Programme Development Team that created the first ever MSci Sport and Exercise Science degree in England and Wales in 2014.
Deputy Head of the Department for Health, Dr Polly McGuigan, said: “We are hugely grateful to Aki for his very generous donation. Prizes are a really important part of celebrating the successes of our fantastic graduates and they would not be possible without this type of support.
“Aki was instrumental in driving the development of the MSci Sport and Exercise Science programme and we are delighted that his name and legacy will be associated with it for many years to come.”