Strategy 2020-25

The role of alumni engagement and philanthropy

Our alumni influence and shape the world in which we live, helping to enable social good.

Fibre optics in blue

The role of alumni engagement and philanthropy

Our alumni influence and shape the world in which we live, helping to enable social good.

The University of London has a long history and tradition of engaging with and fostering support from alumni, beginning in 1858.

The generosity of alumni through philanthropic giving is fundamental in supporting the University to continue its mission to open up access to higher education to students from across the world.

In 2020, alumnus József Váradi (LLM 2014) gave a landmark pledge of £1,145,000 to establish the Váradi Scholarships, which will have a life-changing impact on hundreds of students around the world.

Legacy gifts represent a large proportion of philanthropic income and have a significant and lasting impact on the University for years to come.

Recent alumni bequests include John Lucas (BSc Engineering 1947), who gave 25 per cent of his estate to the central University and 25 per cent to City, University of London. 

Convocation Trust, which provides 10 fully-funded scholarships and other grants to academics and students from across the University and its Member Institutions.

Notable University of London alumni

Sir Charles Kao

No one has done more to connect the world than University of London alumnus Sir Charles Kao

Sir Charles Kao received a Nobel Prize for Physics. His pioneering work in fibre optics is at the heart of our digital world. During the pandemic of 2020, his work has been more vital than ever. We thought it appropriate his work should inspire the design of the University of London Strategy 2020-25 document.

Luisa Diogo Former Prime Minister of Mozambique

Luisa Diogo - Former Prime Minister of Mozambique

Her Excellency, Luisa Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique from 2004 to 2010, is one of several senior officials from Mozambique to have studied the MSc Financial Economics degree from SOAS through online, blended and flexible learning. In 2005 she was listed among Forbes’ ‘100 Most Powerful Women in The World’.

Sir Derek Walcott

Sir Derek Walcott, KCSL, OBE, OCC

Sir Derek Walcott, alumnus of the University of London International Programmes and Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. For many of his 27 years of imprisonment, Nelson Mandela studied law as a University of London student through distance and flexible learning.

Helena Normanton wearing a barrister's wig

Helena Normanton was the first woman to practice as a barrister in England.

Helena Normanton was a lawyer who scored a remarkable number of firsts in her legal career. She began as a history lecturer and, while teaching, she gained a first-class degree from the University of London. She was called to the bar in 1922 and became the first woman in England to practise as a barrister.