Head of Student Services at St Mary’s University, Twickenham Sue Whitham has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours list.
The medal, awarded by the Queen in recognition of meritorious civil services, is being awarded to Sue for services to Higher Education. The award recognises a career at St Mary’s which has lasted over 20 years and seen Sue support countless students, helping them and their families in times of difficulty, tragedy and adversity.
Sue said of her award, “I am honoured and humbled to receive this award. My passion for working with students is as strong now as it was when I began my career at St Mary’s almost 24 years ago. I have had the privilege to get to know thousands of students, many of whom I have maintained contact with and their families which have developed into lasting friendships. My focus has always been to provide seamless, holistic support to students to ensure they achieve their full potential and success during their time at St Mary’s and beyond university.
“Many students I have worked closely with have endured challenging and traumatic life experiences and I have never failed to be inspired by their courage, resolve and determination. I feel extremely proud to witness our graduating students in Westminster Cathedral each year, but I often find myself moved to tears seeing those who have overcome adversity complete their studies.”
Speaking of her work at St Mary’s, Chair of Governors Bishop Richard Moth said, “St Mary’s at its core is an institution that believes the student experience is our highest priority. As a community we are guided by our values of generosity of spirit, excellence, respect and inclusiveness. Sue encompasses all that St Mary’s stands for and is thoroughly deserving of this award, I am sure that colleagues across St Mary’s will be rushing to congratulate her.”
St Mary’s Vice Chancellor Prof Francis Campbell said of Sue’s work at St Mary’s, “Sue has made, and continues to make a major contribution to the lives of students at St Mary’s. Every student finds their own path through higher education, with some needing additional support when they find themselves in difficulty whether through financial hardship, illness, bereavement or through their additional educational requirement.
“Sue, and the team she leads, regularly go beyond the call of duty to ensure that no student who needs help is left behind. I am delighted that Sue has received this national recognition of the vital work she does and the lives she has transformed.”