Graduate of the Year Award Winners
Find out more about our Graduate of Year award winners over the years.
The prestigious AIB/Ulster University Distinguished Graduate award is made to a graduate of the University ‘in recognition of outstanding achievement in their chosen field' and presented during winter graduations.
This award is one way in which we recognise our amazing graduates.
Winner for 2020/21
Dr Tara Shine, environmental scientist, policy advisor and science communicator, specialising in the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on people and their rights, has been named as this year’s AIB/Ulster University Distinguished Graduate of the Year.
Find out more about Dr Shine and her amazing career.
Credit: John Allen
Nominations for 2021/22
If you know an amazing, talented and worthy Ulster University graduate, who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in their chosen field why not nominate them for this prestigious award for 2021.
The nomination process is currently closed and will reopen in February/March 2021. If you are interested in nominating a graduate please contact the Development and Alumni Relations Office: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 028 9536 7486.
A selection of previous winners
View full list of Distinguished Graduate Award Winners
View full list of Distinguished Graduate Award Winners Year Winner 2020/21 Dr Tara Shine: Adviser climate & sustainability. Public speaker. TV presenter. Author. Co-Founder Change by Degrees
DPhil 2003 ;BSc Hons Dip Environmental Science with DAS 1994
2019/20 Dr Adrian Johnston: Director of Digital Catapult Northern Ireland
PhD Informatics 2007 ;BEng Hons DIS Electronics and Computing 2000 Magee
2018/19 Michael Boyd: Director of Football Development
Advanced Diploma in Management Practice 2005; MSc in Communication, Advertising and Public Relations 2001; BA Hons Sport and Leisure Studies 1999 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences, Ulster University Business School) Jordanstown
2017/18 Colin Williams: Creative Director of Sixteen South
BA Hons Design 1995 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Belfast
2016/17 Sonia Flynn: Vice-President of SoundCloud
BA Hons Applied Languages 1997 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Coleraine
2015/16 Alyson Hogg: Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Vita Liberata
BA Hons Philosophy 1996 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Coleraine
2014/15 Colin Walsh: Chairman of the CBI Northern Ireland
MBA International Business 1988 (Ulster University Business School) Jordanstown.
2013/14 Gavin Campbell: business leader in engineering and technology
HND Mechanical Engineering 1985; BSc Hons Engineering 1985 (Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment) Jordanstown.
2012/13 Colin Davidson: Artist
Certificate in Foundation Studies in Art and Design, 1988; BA Hons Design, 1991 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Belfast.
2012 Dr Sharon O’Kane: leading entrepreneur in the biotechnology industry.
BSc Hons Biomedical Sciences 1991; DPhil Biological and Biomedical Sciences 1994 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) Coleraine
2011 Kyle McCallan MBE: former Irish Senior International Cricketer.
BA Hons Sport and Leisure Studies 1998, PGCE 2001 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) Jordanstown
2010 John McMullan MBE: Chief Executive, Bryson Charitable Group.
HNC Business and Finance 1987, BA Hons Business Studies 1991, MBA 1993 (Ulster University Business School) Jordanstown.
2009 Professor Anthony Gallagher: Professor of Human Factors, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
BSc Hons Psychology 1988 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) Jordanstown
2008 Terence Cross OBE: Founder and Owner, Delta Print & Packaging.
HNC Business Studies 1977 (Ulster University Business School) Jordanstown.
2007 Dr Brian Irvine MBE: Composer.
DPhil Composition 2002 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Jordanstown
2006 Billy Mawhinney: Creative Director, WJPM
BA Hons Graphic Design 1978 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Belfast
2005 Professor Joe Nellis: Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield School of Management.
BSc Hons Economics 1976 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Jordanstown
2004 Brian Stirling: International Rugby Referee.
BSc Hons Education with Economics 1976 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Coleraine
2003 Harry Cayton, CBE OBE: Chief Executive, Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence.
BA Hons English 1971 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Coleraine
2002 Alison Kitson: Head of Discipline School of Population, University of Adelaide.
BSc Nursing Studies 1979, DPhil 1984 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) Coleraine
2001 Brian Keenan: Writer
BA Hons English 1974, MA Anglo-Irish Literature 1985, (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Coleraine
2000 Kate Hoey: MP for Vauxhall
Teacher's Diploma in Physical Education 1967, UCPE (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences).
1999 Declan McGonagle: Director of National College of Art and Design
BA Hons Fine Art 1975, PG Diploma Fine Art 1976 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Belfast.
1998 John McClelland: formerly Chief Fire Officer/CEO NI Fire Brigade
DMS 1985, BA Public Sector Administration 1987, MBA 1989 (Ulster University Business School) Jordanstown
1997 Pat Loughrey: Warden at Goldsmiths, University of London
BA Hons History 1976 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Coleraine.