Every year our graduates continue to produce pioneering, ground-breaking work and and make a significant contribution to society and indeed, locally and globally. This award is one of the ways in which we recognise and celebrate our amazing graduates.
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? Students, staff and the wider community are all welcome to nominate for the Allstate NI student and graduate awards.
The Award is presented during winter graduations and each year the winning graduate is presented with a bespoke trophy designed and made by a Belfast School of Art student/recent graduate.
Nominations are open throughout the year and close at the end of August. You can find more about the criteria and access the nomination form below.
The award is made each year to an alumnus/alumna of the University 'in recognition of outstanding achievement in their chosen field'. In order to qualify as a Distinguished Graduate nominee, graduates must meet the following criteria:
- Nominees must have graduated with one or more of the following: an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification, including Masters or PhD. Their qualification can have been in any year from Ulster University or any of its predecessor institutions.
- Serving members of staff of the University are not eligible, however previous employees may be suitable for nomination but must not have been an employee of the University within the last 5 years.
- Under the recommendations from the Selection Panel in 2011, it was agreed that unsuccessful nominations can be resubmitted only once, and after that time there should be a period of three years before an individual can be nominated again.
View full list of Distinguished Graduate Award Winners
Distinguished Graduate Award Winners Year Winner 2022
Damian Coyle MBE: Chief Executive and Artistic Director for the University of Atypical
Certificate in Foundation Studies in Art & Design 1978, BA Hons Fine Art 1981, MA Fine Art 1982, Belfast. MBA Business Administration 2014 (Ulster University Business School) Jordanstown
2021 Dr Eugene Mooney: Director of Information and Analysis, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
DPhil Psychology 1993, BSc Hons Psychology 1986 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) Jordanstown
2020 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 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) Coleraine
2019 Dr Adrian Johnston MBE: Director of Digital Catapult Northern Ireland
PhD Informatics 2007 ;BEng Hons DIS Electronics and Computing 2000
(Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment) Magee
2018 Michael Boyd: Director of Sport, Sport NI
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 Colin Williams: Creative Director of Sixteen South
BA Hons Design 1995 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Belfast
2016 Sonia Flynn: Chief Operating Officer, Hireup
BA Hons Applied Languages 1997 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Coleraine
2015 Alyson Hogg MBE: Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Vita Liberata
BA Hons Philosophy 1996 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Coleraine
2014 Colin Walsh MBE: Founder and Chief Executive, Crescent Capital NI Ltd
MBA International Business 1988 (Ulster University Business School) Jordanstown.
2013 Gavin Campbell: Director Quality, Spirit AeroSystems
HND Mechanical Engineering 1985; BSc Hons Engineering 1985
(Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment) Jordanstown.
2012 Colin Davidson: world-renowned Artist
Certificate in Foundation Studies in Art and Design, 1988; BA Hons Design, 1991
(Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Belfast.
2011 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
2010 Kyle McCallan MBE: former Irish Senior International Cricketer
BA Hons Sport and Leisure Studies 1998, PGCE 2001 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) Jordanstown
2009 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.
2008 Professor Anthony Gallagher: Professor of Human Factors, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
BSc Hons Psychology 1988 (Faculty of Life and Health Sciences) Jordanstown
2007 Terence Cross OBE: Founder and Owner, Delta Print & Packaging
HNC Business Studies 1977 (Ulster University Business School) Jordanstown.
2006 Dr Brian Irvine MBE: Composer.
DPhil Composition 2002 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Jordanstown
2005 Billy Mawhinney: Creative Director, WJPM
BA Hons Graphic Design 1978 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Belfast
2004 Professor Joe Nellis: Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Cranfield School of Management
BSc Hons Economics 1976 (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) Jordanstown
2003 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.