Outstanding Alumni Achievement Awards

The Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award is an annual prize given by the Standing Committee of the Alumni Association to recognise the exceptional work of an alumnus or alumna in the last year. The prize is awarded at the Alumni Black Tie Dinner.

Contact alumni.relations@le.ac.uk for more information.

2017 - Sheila B.Keetharuth Sheila OAAA

Civil Liberties and Human Rights LLM 1994

Sheila graduated in 1994 and was called to the Bar in Mauritius in 1997. She joined Amnesty International as a Researcher at the Africa Regional Office in Uganda, where she also acted as the Interim Head of Office until 2005.

From 2006 to 2012, she led a team of human rights professionals, as Executive Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa, a pan-African NGO based in Banjul, The Gambia, conducting pioneering work in litigation, advocacy and training, focusing on the African human rights system. Since 2014, she has been an expert member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights Violations of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Sheila’s most significant contribution to human rights in Africa is her work as UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, as a member of the former Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea (2014-2016). Since 2012, she has sought to highlight the plight of those who have experienced gross human rights abuses in Eritrea, and to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable. In 2011, the Madrid Bar Association awarded Sheila a Medal of Honour for her human rights work in Africa. You can watch Sheila's acceptance speech in the video below and find out more about the award here.

2016 - Dr Mark Sims

MBChB Medicine 2013Mark OAAA

Mark enrolled on a Medicine and Surgery course at the University of Leicester, graduating with a Medicine MBChB in 2013, and soon began his career as a Doctor. In February 2015 however, Mark was admitted to hospital and sadly diagnosed with stage four malignant melanoma. Almost immediately after his diagnosis,and refusing to let the cancer get the better of him, Mark started chronicling his story on his blog, Wrestling Melanoma, and has raised over £100,000 for Cancer Research UK through his Just Giving page.

In 2015 Mark was awarded the title of Twitter Doctor of the Year by the British Medical Association for sharing his story through social media and has spoken at numerous events including the National Nursing Conference. Mark has also fulfilled his ‘bucket-list’ aim of returning to Leicester numerous times, giving a speech to Leicester University Students Union Medical Association and running the Leicester Half Marathon.

2015 - Dr Diana Garnham

BA Social Sciences 1977; LLD Doctor of Laws, 2013Diana OAAA

Dr Garnham won the award for her illustrious career and her role as Chief Executive of the Science Council, representing over 40 science organisations collaborating on policy issues and awareness about the work of scientists.

Dr Garnham was President of the Politics Society, Assistant Treasurer of the Students’ Union and a member of the Students’ Union Executive.

Along with her degree from the University of Leicester, Diana also has an MA in War Studies from King's College London and an unfinished PhD at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.

She joined the Council on Christian Approaches to Defence and Disarmament as Administrative Secretary in 1983 before moving to the Association of Medical Research Charities in 1987, becoming Chief Executive in 1991.

2014 - Dr Turi King

MSc Molecular Genetics 1998; PhD Genetics 2008Turi OAAA

The 2014 winner was Dr Turi King, (Molecular Genetics MSc, 1998; Genetics PhD, 2008). Turi King was recognised for her outstanding work in genetics and archaeology at the University’s world-renowned Department of Genetics, and her fundamental role in validating the identity of the skeleton discovered in a Leicester car park as that of King Richard III.

Working part-time in genetics in Cambridge, Turi returned to Leicester on a Wellcome Trust Prize Studentship to study for her PhD, under the guidance of Professor Sir Alec Jefferys - the inventor of DNA fingerprinting.

Turi was awarded her PhD in 2007 and is now a lecturer in Genetics and Archaeology in the University of Leicester’s Department of Genetics and manages the Leverhulme-funded project, The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain. She is passionate about communicating science to the public and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the British Science Association in 2016 for outstanding dedication to engaging and inspiring people through science.

2013 - Margaret Nkrumah

BA English 1963; LLD Doctor of Laws 2005Margaret OAAA

The 2013 Award winner, Margaret Nkrumah, (English BA, 1963 and Doctor of Laws, 2005) was recognised for her outstanding achievements in the field of international education where she has made many positive changes across Ghana and Africa.

Margaret is the Founding Principal of SOS Hermann Gmeiner International College (SOS-HGIC), which takes talented orphaned and abandoned children from across the African continent. SOS-HGIC is acknowledged as the most successful school in Ghana and places its graduates in leading global universities.

2012 - Danielle Brown MBE

Danielle C

LLB Law 2010; LLD Doctor of Laws 2013

Danielle was the first Paralympian to represent England in an able-bodied event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she won gold in the team event, although she was surprised about all the media hype that this included. She took up archery at 15 after having to give up other sports as a result of suffering from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a condition that causes intense pain when she is standing. Danielle won Gold at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, and represented the UK at the 2012 Paralympics. She achieved all this whilst studying for her law degree, which she achieved a first for in 2010.

Danielle was the first Paralympian to represent England in an able-bodied event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where she won gold in the team event, although she was surprised about all the media hype that this included. She took up archery at 15 after having to give up other sports as a result of suffering from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a condition that causes intense pain when she is standing. Danielle won Gold at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, and represented the UK at the 2012 Paralympics. She achieved all this whilst studying for her law degree, which she achieved a first for in 2010.

2011 - Professor Nilesh Samani

MBChB Medicine 1981Nilesh OAAA

The inaugural winner of the Award in 2011, Professor Nilesh Samani (Medical Sciences BSc, 1978; Medicine MBChB, 1981; MD, 1984), received the award in recognition of his leadership of a world renowned Cardiovascular Sciences team and being at the forefront of research breakthroughs that have improved prevention, treatment and care for the many thousands of people affected by heart disease.

Professor Samani has a distinguished academic and professional career spanning over 30 years in Leicester.  Nilesh, who is Head of the University’s Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, and a prestigious British Heart Foundation Chair in Cardiology, is acclaimed for his world-leading research in the field of cardiovascular science, and the life-changing difference he has made for patients and families suffering from cardiovascular diseases in Leicestershire and across the UK. His medical achievements include improving the diagnosis and treatment of coronary heart disease and hypertension and providing genetic profiling for coronary heart disease.

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