Document Actions

Celebrating contributions to College life

Donors, volunteers, students and staff of Birkbeck gathered at ‘An Evening of Thanks’ to celebrate contributions to our community, made possible by the generosity of benefactors.

Birkbeck’s annual ‘An Evening of Thanks’ was hosted on 23 July 2018 in a space generously provided by law firm Clifford Chance, welcoming donors, volunteers, students and staff for an evening of celebration.

The evening enables donors and volunteers drawn from across the College community to hear first-hand the impact that their support for Birkbeck students can have in changing lives.

Wikus Barkhuizen, a PhD candidate in Birkbeck’s Department of Psychological Sciences, whose doctorate has been funded by the Camara-Rijvers David Studentship, addressed the guests in a speech.

He said: “From a young age I knew that I wanted to spend my life helping others. My parents instilled in me a strong culture of the importance of giving back. So after school, I decided to do a degree majoring in psychology and genetics.

“But things did not go as planned and I had to take a break from my studies to work full time… But I got a second chance.

“You see, Birkbeck is all about second chances. For four years I rushed from work to attend evening lectures and finally got my psychology degree.

“After graduating from Birkbeck, I was accepted to do a master’s degree at King's College London researching early interventions in psychosis. While doing my master's, a good friend from Birkbeck encouraged me to apply for a fully funded PhD studentship on adolescent mental health using genetic methods, supervised by Professor Angelica Ronald at the highly rated Department of Psychological Sciences.

“If it was not for the generosity of the Birkbeck alumni who funded the Camara-Rijvers David studentship, I would not have been able to dedicate three years of my life to researching a topic I am deeply passionate about.”

Projects that have benefited from donor funding were also showcased, such as: the Compass Project, which offered 20 asylum seekers a fully funded place on an undergraduate or postgraduate certificate course and will do so again next year; the Reluctant Internationalists, a research project which inspects the history of international collaboration; and the Student Advice service, which offers students help with funding, applications and any other aspect of their studies at Birkbeck.

Support our students

Donations from alumni are crucial in enabling the College to offer the best opportunities to those, like Wikus, who would otherwise not be able to access higher education and change their lives. With your support, we can continue to make that a reality. Make a donation.

Interested in volunteering?

By providing your time and expertise, you can make a real contribution to the lives of prospective and current Birkbeck students during a critical time in their lives.