The University of Wolverhampton held its inaugural online Alumni Awards event recently which was streamed live around the world on YouTube.

The Awards ceremony was a celebration of the achievements of the University’s alumni with more than 170 nominations received for the eight award categories. 

The awards were designed and created by Nikki Palmer, a Master’s degree student studying Design & Applied Arts in the School of Art who is graduating later this year.

The winners are as follows:

Shani Dhanda was recognised for her Contribution to Society (UK) for her positive contributions to the lives of others – locally and nationally. Shani graduated with a degree in Event and Business Management and is a multi-award-winning inclusion specialist and social entrepreneur listed as one of the UK's most influential disabled people and BBC's 100 Women 2020. She has founded numerous organisations to improve representation and challenge social inequality globally.

The Contribution to Society (International) was won by Subrata Chanda for his contribution to the lives of others internationally. Subrata graduated with a Master’s degree in Pharmacy and since then has successfully worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eradicate Polio in India. He has also worked with UNICEF and has been instrumental in setting up preventive cancer programmes across Assam.

Volunteer of the Year was Sean Kyne, in recognition of his exceptional volunteering efforts with the University over the past 12 months. Sean is Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service and graduated with a Law degree. He spends time providing class talks, offering work experience opportunities and has dedicated a lot of time in helping students reach their aspirations. Sean is an exceptional role model and ambassador for the University and the Law School.

Chris Woods was recognised for Professional Excellence, an award which celebrates excellence in the graduate’s chosen field. Chris graduated with a degree in Computer Science and has become an experienced leader and entrepreneur within the cybersecurity realm, previously managing elite and innovating cybersecurity teams at the European Space Agency, HP, Fujitsu and UK Government with over 25 years of pure cyber-Security experience. Chris is the Founder and CEO of the CyberQ group based in Birmingham.

The Vice-Chancellor Recent Graduate award was won by Ronak Agrawal. This award recognises the extraordinary achievements of a recent graduate whose successes have benefited local communities or society at large.  Ronak graduated with a degree in International Business Management and actively volunteered to contribute to saving the lives of people through leading blood donations campaigns. He also lead the awareness campaigns (schools, colleges, community and streets) to create awareness for people regarding the importance and benefits of blood donations.

Kaj Pedersen was recognised for making an impressive impact in business through his outstanding leadership. Kaj graduated with a degree in Computer Science and currently serves as CTO of AstrumU, a Seattle-based data services firm that is pioneering the use of machine learning to forecast the value of educational experiences in the labour market. Kaj's career spans more than 20 years in the venture creation space where he has played an integral role in launching and developing companies in FinTech, MedTech, EdTech, Search and Investment Management sectors. Kaj's work has led him to develop solutions for complex business and societal challenges.

The Entrepreneurial Award was presented to Chinedu Ilo, who graduated with a degree in International Business Management, for setting an excellent example to others running their own business. Chinedu is the Managing Director of Gree Iloson Merchandise Nig Ltd (GIM) and Chris Ilo Merchandise Nig Ltd (CIM), which ventures in industrial distribution, haulage, real estate, imports/exports, general contracts and construction based in Nigeria and further afield in Africa. He was recognised and awarded as one the 100 most influential young leaders in Africa in 2021. Some of his other notable awards are Business Excellence Award by the World Confederation of Business in 2020, the Nelson Mandela Youth Award as Ecowas Youth Ambassador of Peace in 2020 and The Under 30CEOs award in 2018.

Recognised for her ongoing and significant contribution to her profession, Sally Roberts took the Lifetime Achievement Award for the work she has done and continues to do for the people of the Black Country. Sally has spent the majority of her 37-year NHS career in various provider, commissioner, and educational posts across the region and spent a significant part of this time in community settings as a District Nurse and a Community Practice Teacher. She has over 10 years' experience of being an executive board nurse for local Clinical Commissioning Groups and has recently been appointed as the Chief Nursing Officer for the Integrated Care Board (ICB) for the Black Country.


Picture shows Nikki Palmer, Master's degree student who designed the Alumni Award.