2011 winner

Nigel Gates talks about the 2011 recipient

Alumnus of the Year 2011: Rachel Dixon

Rachel DixonOur 2011 winner was Rachel Dixon who graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in 2000 with a BSc degree.

Causing a 'ripple' effect

Rachel helped to revolutionise Ripple Primary School in Barking (one of London’s most deprived areas) by almost doubling the School’s English SAT scores in 5 years.

She also made a very significant impact on the children’s cultural development with musical work of a national standard (such as her school band performing at the Music for Youth national festival and the Primary Proms at the Royal Albert Hall).

In 2010, Rachel was awarded the prestigious Pride of Britain award for Teacher of the Year.

"The University of Hertfordshire and the predecessor institutions have a long and very distinguished history of producing excellent members of the teaching profession and Rachel clearly exemplifies this fact."

Nigel Gates, Alumni Association Advisory Board

Highly commended: Matthew King

Matt KingAlso acknowledged in 2011 was Matthew King, who graduated in 2009 from the University of Hertfordshire with a first in Law.

This was despite being paralysed from the neck downwards after breaking his neck in a rugby accident in 2004.

Triumph in adversity

Matthew has certainly not let these physical problems defeat him. He has been involved in volunteering and fundraising for others, doing the New York Marathon, skiing with the aid of special equipment and gaining a rugby coaching certificate.

He has also taught himself to paint using a mouthpiece and one of his paintings was made into a Christmas card which was sold in aid of the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.

"The members of the assessment sub-committee felt humbled when they read of Matthew and his achievements in spite of tremendous physical difficulties and he is an inspiration to all of us - never give up."

Nigel Gates, Alumni Association Advisory Board