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The Neil and Gina Smith Student of the Year Award
The Neil and Gina Smith Student Of The Year Award comprises a cash award of £5,000 to recognise a student of outstanding achievement at Keele University. It is open to all undergraduate final year students.
The 2016/17 Student of the Year was awarded to Steph Lonsdale.
Student of the Year 2017/18
Interested in becomming the 2017/18 Neil and Gina Smith Student Of The Year?
The application process is now open, you can find out everything you need to know about the process on these pages. Applications and Nominations are invited annually from final-year undergraduate students for the Award.
The deadline for applications is 5pm Monday 23rd April 2018.
Who are Neil and Gina Smith?
Neil Smith graduated from Keele in 1980 with a degree in Physics and Economics. Neil was President of the Students Union (1979), President of the Athletic Union (1978) and Speaker of the Union (1980). At Keele, he earned full colours in Rugby, Football and Cricket, ran the popular Keele five-a-side leagues, produced “Keele Over” on BBC Radio Stoke (before KUBE radio), contributed to Concourse and was Honorary VP of the North Staffs Physically Handicapped.
After graduating, Neil became a journalist with Thomson, freelancing with both the BBC and the Sunday Times. In 1982, Neil won a Knox scholarship to take an MBA at the Harvard Business School. He earned first-year honours and became the first British President of the HBS Student Association.
After Harvard, Neil joined management consultants McKinsey in New York, where he met his wife Gina. In 1991 he bought Midlands-based Tudor Dairies, owners of the Loseley ice-cream brand, in one of the UK’s first leveraged buyouts. Neil later returned to the USA to found consulting firm, EHS Partners, with 2 former colleagues. In 2009, Neil joined the former US Comptroller of the Currency to found Promontory Growth and Innovation, which helps Chief Executives of Fortune 500 companies to dramatically improve performance. In 2012, PGI was credited with helping Bank of America improve profits by $8 billion a year - the same year Neil wrote his New York Times Best-Seller (co-authored with Keele graduate Rick Levak) – How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things.
Since the 1990’s Neil has been President of Keele in the USA, the organization and network for American alumni of Keele University. With his wife, he founded the prestigious Gina and Neil Smith Student of the Year Award (now in its 11th year), which recognizes Keele students for their outstanding achievements.
Neil was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University by Keele University in 2015.
Neil, Gina and their 4 children (Brianna, Alexander, Caroline and Charlotte) live in New York.
Criteria for 2017/18
The award is open to all final year undergraduate students who meet the following criteria:
Outstanding academic excellence / achievement together with outstanding achievement / contribution as an individual to student life and/or the university.
(i) To meet the criteria for outstanding academic excellence/achievement, applicants should demonstrate any one or a combination of:
- An expectation at the time of the application to obtain First Class Honours in class mark aggregate
- A Distinction, or equivalent exceptional achievement, in a major piece of examined independent work such as a project or dissertation
(ii) To meet the criteria for outstanding achievement/contribution as an individual, candidates should demonstrate any combination of the following:
- An achievement or contribution in citizenship in the form of making a difference to the life of the University community (this could include work on or off campus such as volunteer activity)
- An achievement or contribution specifically connected to a sport or sporting activity
- Overcoming hardship, disability or other personal adversity
Notes for Guidance for 2017/18
Applicants must ensure that TWO signed references are provided to support their application from both:
1) An appropriate academic referee (e.g. Head of School, Director of Undergraduate Studies)
2) An appropriate referee for personal achievement (e.g. Head of HEACF/student volunteers, SU President, AU President, personal tutor, volunteer organiser)
It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure that references are provided by the closing date by email to email@example.com.
For a Staff Nomination
Nominations of candidates for the award by a Head of School or Faculty Dean must be submitted on the Student of the Year Application and Nomination Form below.
Nominators are advised to inform their nominee that they have been nominated, and to ensure that the nominee provides a personal statement and a non-academic referee to support their nomination before the closing date.
The Nomination Form must be completed as appropriate and by the closing date of 5pm on 23rd April 2018.
Note: nominees must complete and send a personal statement and provide a non-academic reference, by email, to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm 23rd April.
The award Panel may invite shortlisted candidates for interview. Interviews will take place on 1st June 2018. Invitations will be sent out as early as possible, but candidates are advised that they may be given relatively short notice of an interview.
The final decision will be confirmed after the Final Examination results are known, and the successful applicant notified within seven days of the results of the Final Examinations being published in June.
The Award will be presented at the Summer Degree Graduation Ceremonies. The Student of the Year will be invited to attend the Vice-Chancellor's Graduation Dinner in July 2018.
The name of the successful candidate will be recorded in an appropriate Roll of Honour to be established by the University.