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Dorothy Beckford Scholarship awarded to English student Julia Okuboyejo

This prize is a bequest made by Dorothy Beckford, a former Birkbeck student who worked as an Adult Education Organiser, from a total donation of £50,000. The scholarship will pay for Okuboyejo’s fees for the next academic year.

How the generosity of legacy donations enhances the lives of students

The Dorothy Beckford Scholarship has been awarded to Julia Okuboyejo, a BA English student at Birkbeck. This prize is a bequest made by Dorothy Beckford, a former Birkbeck student who worked as an Adult Education Organiser, from a total donation of £50,000. The scholarship will pay for Okuboyejo’s fees for the next academic year.

Okuboyejo said: “I am hugely grateful to receive this scholarship, which will help me towards my future goals - my plan is to complete my BA English undergraduate degree in 2020, and to pursue a career in teaching. I am very much aware and sympathize with the fact that there is a need for more teachers in the UK and this past year I have spent in University has further reinforced my desire to teach.”

Following the death of her mother in her twenties, Okuboyejo helped to raise her younger siblings in addition to her own children. She says that this taught her a great deal about effectively communicating with young people, and how the right approach could positively impact the learning abilities of young people, inspiring her ambitions to teach.

She continued: “I strongly feel that the Dorothy Beckford Scholarship acts as an incentive and provides a chance for people in my position who have struggled to return to education over the years due to family commitments and responsibilities.”

Remembering Birkbeck in your will

Bequests have been important to Birkbeck for many years, and many alumni have chosen to help secure the future of the College in this way.

They are used to fund a variety of research projects and to support students in different ways: from funding scholarships, to hardship funds, to research, to providing new books for Birkbeck’s library, they make an enormous difference to the College and to students who may otherwise be unable to continue in education.

Dora JeJey was one student at Birkbeck who received a bursary thanks to the generosity of our alumni. She said: “As well as allowing me to stay on the course, the funds have alleviated my anxieties and worries and have allowed me to give my best and full attention to the task at hand. I have been challenged and stretched, but also nurtured and encouraged in my own practice.

I have been given the opportunity and the confidence to go out and make my contribution to the world, and that is something I do not take likely. The money given to the bursary fund is so much more than money – for someone it is peace of mind, to another a good night’s sleep and yet to another it’s access to a world that would probably be closed to them.”

Lawrence Ajibola also received a bursary after encountering financial difficulties towards the end of his Master’s in Finance. He said “I didn’t have enough money to get me to the end of the year and only had one more instalment of my fees to pay. Without the bursary I would have had to drop out at the final hurdle.”

It is hard to predict the areas of greatest need for funding and therefore we encourage donors to make their bequests as flexible as possible to have the greatest impact. Nevertheless, if you would like to be more specific in directing a bequest towards a particular fund or project, get in touch with the team who can help you make these arrangements.

Professor David Latchman, Master of Birkbeck said: “All forms of financial support for Birkbeck are welcome but supporting us in your will is a mark of confidence in the future of the institution. Bequests can support students, either through financial support for students who might not be able to study otherwise, or a hardship fund for students who get into difficulty because of change of circumstances - equally they can support research facilities or a post.

“We know that thinking about who to remember in your will is incredibly personal, and we are very grateful to those who give this even a tentative thought. We hope that it will be many years before the legacy is paid out, but in that time the donor is still saying that the College is still something they want to support, and something whose ideals will continue into the future.

“Legacy gifts of every size have a lasting impact and help us to ensure that Birkbeck, its powerful values, high-quality teaching and world-class research continue to serve future generations of students.”

Further information

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