Celebration of 10 years of the Magnusson Awards

GCU marked the tenth year of the Magnusson Awards with a special event, celebrating the achievements of award winners and the generosity of donors and friends who made it all possible. 

Established in honour of our late Chancellor, journalist and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson KBE, the awards have now supported more than 95 students to undertake their own dream projects across the globe, bringing their expertise and knowledge to part of the world where it will make a real and lasting difference. 

Speaking in conversation, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE and Dr Sally Magnusson, daughter of Magnus, discussed their favourite memories of the awards and the story of how it all began. Sally also interviewed three former student winners, sharing the remarkable impact their award had on their life and the lives of others several years on: 

Joel Somerville drove 6,000 miles across West Africa to work on board a mercy ship as a volunteer optometrist carrying out vital eye surgeries; John McAlinden recorded his first album, which lead to his band Colonel Mustard and the Dijon Five touring the world; and Gillian Murray delivered lifesaving care for new born babies in Tanzania. 

A total of seven awards were presented on the night, supported by donors including Sir Alex Ferguson, Merchants House, Catholic Bishops Conference and Santander Universities. 

Professor Gillies said: “Ten years ago, the Magnus Magnusson Awards were created to support and cultivate the ambitions and dreams of the talented young people of Glasgow Caledonian University who wish to share their talents in some way with others. We, as the University for the Common Good, are so proud of the achievements that have been made possible over the years through this incredible initiative.” 

Sally said: “I feel thrilled and humbled. My father cared very much for seeing young people flourish. He understood their aspirations and was curious about what they wanted to do with their lives. To think his name and what the University has done in his name has enabled people to bloom and blossom in the way that all our students who won awards have done would have thrilled him.” 

Jillian Watt, Director of the Glasgow Caledonian University Foundation, said: “Since the awards began, in honour of Magnus and his passion for learning, our students have been able to realise their dreams and ambitions as a result of donations from friends and alumni. This year marks a very special achievement.”