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Sue Whitham

Head of Student Services

Sue Whitham



As Head of Student Services, Sue is responsible for leading on the development and delivery of a variety of student facing services, such as the Accommodation Service, Student Life and Pastoral Care Services, Counselling and Mental Health, Disability Services and Student Funding, all of which focus on ensuring the University ethos, mission and values of St Mary’s are at the heart of providing an excellent service and experience for our students.

Sue joined St Mary’s University in 1994 initially as part of the Finance team. When Student Services was first opened as a department by HRH the Duke of Kent, Sue was moved to develop the Student Funding Service which had not previously existed. As many other aspects of student support developed at St Mary’s, Sue became the Student Services Co-ordinator, growing the services for students through many Higher Education sector changes and challenges including the introduction of Student Fees in 1998 and when were grants abolished.

Sue started her career in insurance working for the Automobile Association. During her 10 years with the AA, Sue developed her skills and experience which enabled her to progress through the ranks to become the Regional Sales Director for the South East Region whilst receiving many personal awards and accolades along the way. Sue was also the face of the AA’s TV advertising campaign on both ITV & Channel 4 in the 1980’s, before taking a career break to begin her family in 1986.

When Sue returned from her career break in the early 90’s, Sue changed her career path to suit her family commitments, firstly by moving into support roles in Primary Education for 2 years before joining Higher Education at St Mary’s.

During her 26 years at St Mary’s Sue has taken advantage of many career enhancing and development opportunities and has added many professional qualifications whilst progressing to her current role as a core member of the Executive Leadership Team.

Sue has an unfailing passion and dedication for student support and has had many personal career achievements which have included being awarded a British Empire Medal by the Queen in the 2017 New Years’ Honours list in recognition of meritorious civil services for Higher Education.

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