Sir Alex inspires GCU students with leadership advice

29 March 2017

Sir Alex inspires GCU students with leadership advice

Sir Alex Ferguson CBE delivered an inspirational leadership talk to 500 Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) students when he returned to campus today (March 29).

Honorary graduate and founding donor to the Glasgow Caledonian University Foundation, and one of the world’s most successful leaders and football managers of all time, Sir Alex offered students his advice on effective leadership and provided them with the opportunity to put forward their questions on communication, building team morale and delivering results.

Sir Alex has, since leaving football management, made his name in executive education, lecturing at the Ivy League Harvard University on his blueprint for managerial success.

GCU students had the opportunity to gain from his significant experience through an event hosted by the Student Leaders Programme. The programme is designed to help students identify the competencies (skills, knowledge and behaviours) needed to be a more effective leader.

In 2015, GCU launched its Foundation with a generous £500,000 donation from Sir Alex Ferguson CBE to deliver scholarship programmes for students from all backgrounds and across all disciplines over the next ten years.

Beneficiaries of Sir Alex’s donation today shared their experiences with him, which included volunteering on international development projects, such as building a wind turbine and two classrooms in Malawi, a physiotherapy placement in Nepal, and travel to the African Leadership College (ALC), in which the University is a founding academic partner.

Social sciences student Jayde O’Connor, 22, recently travelled to the ALC in Mauritius to gain an understanding of life and study in other countries. She said: “To be a leader you need to inspire people and Sir Alex has certainly done that. He has made me want to continue my charity work and this has given me confidence; if he can make it, why can’t we all.”

Lily Hosie, fourth year physiotherapy student, thanked Sir Alex for the experience she gained in Nepal where she undertook a placement. She said: “It’s given me a different perspective on life. I have a whole other idea of how other people live and the difficulties they face. I am more appreciative of the things that I have here and I can transfer that into family, work or university. It is something that will always stay with me.”

Sir Alex said: “Returning to the University and listening to students speaking passionately about their experiences, I see great potential and leadership in many of our young people. It is an honour to support the work of the Glasgow Caledonian University Foundation and learn more about the students while playing my part in helping them to reach their potential.”

Jillian Watt, Director of the Glasgow Caledonian University Foundation, said: “As the University for the Common Good, our goal is to transform lives through education. The support from Sir Alex Ferguson enables our students to gain unique experiences and skills and this is an opportunity for us to thank Sir Alex for his continued support and be inspired by one of the most successful and respected managers in the history of football.”