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University celebrates global alumni success at awards ceremony


The University of Wolverhampton held its second ever, and first in person, Alumni Awards on Tuesday 27 June. The event took place at the University of Wolverhampton’s Chancellor’s Hall and was also streamed live around the world on YouTube. 

The ceremony is a celebration of the achievements of the university’s alumni and featured over 170 nominations made across the six award categories, also recognising the inaugural Hall of Fame inductees and an honorary award for outstanding career service. 

David Wedge, Deputy Head of Alumni Relations at the University, said: “Congratulations to all our finalists and winners. 

“It was fantastic to hear about the incredible achievements of our graduates and the impact that they are having in a breadth of professions, both locally and around the world.  

“Our alumni truly are our greatest ambassadors and it's important that we continue to celebrate their successes and provide inspiration for future generations.” 

Class of 2012 graduate, Luke Cato, was recognised for his role in giving back to the University with the Alumni Service Award. Luke graduated from the University with a degree in Sports Studies and now runs a charity dedicated to raising awareness of the various forms of child exploitation called the REAL project. He and his team work alongside schools to develop projects and create resources/activities, including a free to play awareness mobile app game.   

The Professional Excellence Award was won by Manuel ‘Manolo’ Mantero Tocino for his outstanding career achievements. Since graduating from the University in 1998 with a degree in Electronic Media, Manuel has become a world-leading Visual FX supervisor with extensive experience in delivering visual effects for an array of feature films, episodic and commercials. His work includes Men in Black: International, Stranger Things, and Dune, for which he and his team won both an Oscar at the Academy Awards and a BAFTA.   

Val Wright of the Class of 1995 took home the Entrepreneurial Award in recognition of her entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to set a positive example for others running their own business. Val is an Internationally acclaimed innovation and growth expert who was named as one of the top 50 resources for Chief Operating Officers by ClickSoftware. She is one of only 64 experts inducted into the Million Dollar Consultant Hall of Fame.  

Sadham Zarjahan, who graduated with a degree in Mechatronics from the Class of 2014, was awarded the Leadership Award for demonstrating exemplary leadership in their profession and fostering a culture of excellence in their field. Sadham was selected as Sri Lankan Youth Ambassador for the Annual Youth Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in 2013 and appointed as a Chairman of the International Youth Council (IYC) Sri Lanka. That same year, he was elected as Vice Chairman for partnerships and recourses at the Commonwealth Youth Council and in 2018, was appointed as a National Consultant at UNIDO.   

Postgraduate law (LLM) graduate Osai Ojigho was recognised with the Global Impact Award for her positive contributions to the lives of others, on a global scale. Osai is a human rights expert, lawyer, and civil society leader with extensive experience working in international development. In her current role as Policy and Campaigns director, she is leading Christian Aid's advocacy in the UK and globally on key priorities including climate justice, gender justice, economic justice, peacebuilding, good governance, and human rights. 

Mark O’Shea MBE, Applied Science Class of 1985, won the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding lifetime accomplishments and significant contribution to his profession.  Mark is a herpetologist with four decades of field experience on every continent except Antarctica.  He has authored seven books, presented around forty adventurous natural history documentaries, and is listed on the WHO Roster of Snakebite Experts. In 2020, Mark received an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to Higher Education, Zoology, Reptile Conservation and Snakebite Research.  

The Outstanding Career Service Award was presented to Alvaro Moreno de la Santa, Class of 1996, for his continued professional career achievements and excellence in his field. He has been working as a news presenter for more than twenty years, and in his professional career, has covered news such as the war in Ukraine, the death of Isabel II, as well as a multitude of European and Spanish elections. Alvaro is widely recognised as the lead anchor for Canal Sur Mas in Andalucia, Spain, where he is a well-known and popular public figure.  

group photo of winners holding up their trophies

This year’s awards also saw the introduction of the inaugural Hall of Fame, highlighting the successes of the University’s most esteemed and accomplished graduates.  

 The 2023 Hall of Fame inductees are as followed: 

  •  Suzi Perry (Class of 1991): A proud Wulfrunian, journalist and presenter, who has presented a range of high-profile shows including MotoGP, the Gadget Show, Wimbledon, The Boat Race, the London Marathon, Royal Ascot, the Great North Run, the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and Formula One. 
  • David Odusanya (Class of 1991): Spent over 20 years as the Design Vice-President for Nike, a company considered one of the greatest marketing advertisers of all time, and in 2018, co-founded CO-Lab, an independent creative agency based in Portland, Oregan. 
  • Herminder K Channa OBE NLE (Class of 2004): A pioneer of educational transformation in the West Midlands, renowned for her leadership ability and belief in the work of the community, family, and schools to collectively work for the success of each student. 
  • Tanweer Ikram CBE DL (Class of 1998): A deputy senior district judge, who has been an associate judge on the Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to judicial diversity.  
  • Hau Choi Anthony Kam (Class of 2001): A devoted and tireless supporter of the University through two decades in leadership of the University’s Hong Kong Alumni Association, a service which led to the award of an honorary fellowship by the University in 2015. 

Graduates are encouraged to keep in touch with the Alumni team and take advantage of a range of benefits and support on offer to them including a discount for Postgraduate study and opportunities to benefit from volunteering and career advice.        


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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