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University chairman gears up to support students

Newcastle University’s Council Chairman is launching his own scholarship scheme to support more young people to study at Newcastle.

Leading North East business figure, Mark I’Anson, became chairman of Newcastle University’s governing body last year and wants to use his term of office to help students in need of support to benefit from a Newcastle education. 
By embarking on a series of sponsored challenges, Mark aims to raise money for the new Chair of Council’s Fund, with the first being the gruelling 104 mile non-stop Virgin Money Cyclone Challenge across the Cheviot Hills.
On Saturday, 30 June, Mark will join 1,500 other cyclists on the epic trail which will take in some of the most stunning, but difficult hill, landscapes in the country.
Mark has a background in computing and has founded a series of businesses throughout a 30-year career. He has also been actively involved in a number of venturecapital initiatives in the region to encourage business growth and access to opportunities for young people and local communities.
He said: “The impact of the new fees regime regrettably means that for some students they will feel that a university education is beyond their reach. It may also deter some very promising postgraduate students from continuing their studies.
“Newcastle is a top university which wants to attract and keep the best students it can and while I can't alter the national issue, I can try to do something locally to support students who have the ability but not the means to continue their education. Over time I hope that this fund can grow to provide ongoing support to students – times and funding regimes will change, but opportunity for all will remain a worthwhile aspiration.”
Mark estimates the challenge will take him nine hours to complete and his practise sessions have included riding from his home in Haydon Bridge, in Northumberland, to University – a round trip of almost 56 miles.
The Chair of Council Fund will be another boost to the University’s commitment to supporting its students. Over the next five years, £51m will be invested in developing widening participation, including £29million of financial support for students from lower income backgrounds.
Up to a quarter of undergraduate students entering the University this year will benefit from financial support of atleast £2,000 per year, through a range of scholarships and fee discounts.
Mark’s relationship with Newcastle University began in 2005 when he was the David Goldman Visiting Professor in the Business School.
He plays a prominent role in the North East region and is also Chairman of County Durham Foundation. He was a founder member and chairman of Community Ventures, an innovative Venture Philanthropy group, which brings together talented entrepreneurs and business professionals who give time, skills and money tolocal charitable groups to help improve their effectiveness. He is also Chairman of the Haydon Bridge Development Trust.
If you would like to sponsor Mark please visit his JustGiving page.  


published on: 18 June 2012