Nomination process

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.

Criteria

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:

Previous winners

  • View full list of Distinguished Graduate Award Winners
    Distinguished Graduate Award Winners
    YearWinner
    2021Dr 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
    2020Dr 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.

In this section

Dr Eugene Mooney, 2021

Dr Eugene Mooney, Director of Information and Analysis, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, has been named AIB / Ulster University Distinguished Graduate of the Year 2021.

Dr Tara Shine, 2020

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.

Dr Adrian Johnston, 2019

Dr Adrian Johnston MBE, Director of Digital Catapult Northern Ireland, has been named as the AIB/Ulster University Distinguished Graduate of the Year.

Michael Boyd, 2018

Michael Boyd, Director of football development at the Irish Football Association (IFA) has been named as the First Trust Bank /Ulster University Distinguished Graduate of the Year.

Colin Williams, 2017

Colin Williams, Creative Director of Emmy-nominated and Bafta award winning children’s TV production company Sixteen South, has been named as First Trust Bank / Ulster University Distinguished Graduate of the Year.

Sonia Flynn, 2016

The Vice-President of SoundCloud, the world’s largest music and audio platform, has been named as First Trust Bank/Ulster University Distinguished Graduate of the Year.

Alyson Hogg, 2015

The University recently recognised local businesswoman Alyson Hogg’s outstanding achievements when it presented her with the First Trust Bank/Ulster University Distinguished Graduate Award for 2015/16.

Colin Walsh, 2014

Colin Walsh graduated from Ulster University with an MBA (International Business and Industrial Development).

Gavin Campbell, 2013

Gavin is Director of Design Engineering and Technology Development at Bombardier Aerospace Belfast.

Colin Davidson, 2012

Colin Davidson is a contemporary artist living in County Down, who exhibits internationally.

Dr Sharon O’Kane, 2011

Sharon currently holds a portfolio of Non-Executive Director / Advisory positions including being Non-Executive Director at TPP Global Development; is Entrepreneur in Residence and Chair of the Drug Discovery Advisory Board at the University of Manchester intellectual property company; and is Non-Executive Director of MIDAS, the Manchester Investment & Development Agency.