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Sophie McDermott elected new Chair of Convocation

As part of Newcastle University Alumni Weekend, we held our 62nd Meeting of Convocation on Saturday, 12 October; where we announced our new Chair of Convocation.

The Meeting of Convocation is the statutory body of the University that provides our graduates with an opportunity to input first-hand on the challenges and successes facing the University, and the way in which matters are being handled. It also gives our alumni the ability to put questions forward to the Vice-Chancellor.  

This year we held the election for a new Chair of Convocation and we are delighted to announce that Sophie McDermott was elected into the new role at the meeting! 

Sophie recently graduated in July 2018 and had since worked as a Sabbatical Officer for the Students’ Union, elected to represent our students on all aspects of their University experience. She has since moved on to work in a new role as a Graduate Project Controller as part of Jacobs. Sophie shared her experience and initial ambitions during her election speech 

I’ve seen first-hand what a proactive and supportive alumnus can offer both the University and current students. I have sat on committees which make real dreams come true for students and other graduates by providing either funding, support, networks and connections, and it is only possible through the generosity of you, the alumni.  

Although I myself am a recent graduate, through such things like organising and hosting the Pride Awards earlier this year, I have marvelled at just how much Newcastle grads are doing and where in the world they are. I think this connection is so incredibly important to nurture, first when students initially become graduates, and then keeping that connection through their early and mid-careers, either offering support to them, or engaging in bringing them in to support students. For me, this is the most important, as by engaging grads as soon as they leave, and a few years down the line, we build a strong relationship which can continue for the rest of their lives. We also have fantastic alumni at the end of their careers and beyond who have such a wealth of knowledge and I believe we can really tap into that. NCL spark is a great platform, and I want to work with the Advancement team to help make this bigger and better.  

Speaking of, I have had the privilege of working closely with not just the Advancement team over the last year, but the entire University, both Central Services and the different faculties, as a Sabbatical Officer. This means I have a thorough knowledge of the University committee systems, some of which I have chaired, and I also know several key members of staff and faculty to help support this link between the current students and graduates. So I know how to get stuff done and who to pester to make it reality! Also, through working at the Students’ Union I have an advantageous connection to societies, clubs, volunteers and more, at the University currently, and also understand and know of all the incredible activities they are organising that could involve alumni.” 

A huge congratulations, we cannot wait to work with Sophie and hear her fresh perspective and ideas in supporting us to shape our programmes for alumni within our University. Teri Wishart, Director of Advancement will be meeting with Sophie later this month, which will be the start of a fruitful relationship. We’ll of course keep you up to date with any new advances!

Sophie McDermott
Chair of Convocation, Sophie McDermott

published on: 22 October 2019