“My lecturers were so open-minded and loved the fact that I had another passion,” explains French and Politics graduate Samantha Murray. That passion was for one of the most demanding sports in the world: Modern Pentathlon. And Samantha is one of the very best, winning a silver medal in the 2012 Olympic Games while she was still studying, and becoming World Champion two years later.
“They helped me balance my timetable, resit exams in the summer when I was away in the exams period, and gave me extensions on deadlines,” she continues. “The University was the perfect place to enjoy sports, train really hard, and also study for a very academic degree. I also had excellent support from the Santander Scholarship, which saw me through the Olympics in 2012.”
Proud to be first
We are proud to be the first UK university to have offered sports scholarships to students, back in 1976. Our programme has really taken off in the last decade, as we’ve helped more than 100 talented young people like Samantha balance studying for a degree with achieving sporting success, thanks to your generosity. At the time of writing, four scholars are in the current Team Bath netball squad competing in the Vitality Superleague, and three scholars are in the Bath Rugby Premiership squad.
And, in 2018, Team GB’s Skeleton bronze medal winner, Dom Parsons, joined Samantha on Bath’s Olympic podium of scholars. Dom also benefitted from a Santander Scholarship as an undergraduate. He’s now continuing to train while completing a demanding PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and recently inspired our new Gold Scholars to aim high when he spoke at their annual celebration.
Supporting elite athletes
Enhancing our excellent scholarship programme, the Elite Athletes Fund gives students a boost while they’re studying. Thanks to donations, more than 100 of our finest competitors have received Elite Athlete grants since 2008, covering the travel costs of competing internationally. Only last year it helped swimmer and Thompson Educational Trust scholar, Anna Hopkin, get to the Commonwealth Games, where she won bronze in the 4 x 100m freestyle relay. Anna crowned her achievement by being voted Sports Personality at the Blues Awards and BUCS Sportswoman of the Year.
Of course, for every athlete who goes on to represent their country, thousands more pursue sport for different reasons: to improve their skills, increase their fitness and enjoy time with their friends. Many Bath teammates remain friends for life, and go on to support future generations of sporting students through the Alumni Fund.
Your gifts mean that sports societies can renew and repair equipment, and in doing so, raise the level of their performance. For example, donations have enabled Bath University Boat Club to purchase a new racing shell and training kit, and your gifts have also made a big contribution towards the Club’s first ever dedicated boathouse on the Saltford stretch.
From funding competition chairs for the University’s Wheelchair Basketball team to a new trampoline for the Trampolining Club, a ball machine for our hockey players and a bowling machine for our cricketers, your donations continue to propel University sport forward. Not to mention new team kits, which mean our sportsmen and women can wear the Blue and Gold with even more pride.
Thank you for being some of our students’ biggest fans.