Margaret Nkrumah, Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award winner (2013)
What does winning an alumni award mean to you?
Winning the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award in 2013 was both an incredible honour and a great surprise. My years in Leicester are among the best in my long life and it gives me immense pleasure that I have made my University proud. I have followed Leicester's ascending star from the small University College in the early '60s when I was there, to its present stature and status in the world and its pioneering distant education reach, particularly in Africa. So I am enormously proud to be a part of the Leicester Alumni community!
What have you been up to since you won the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award in 2013?
Since winning the Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award in 2013, I am still involved with education, mainly at the governance level. I have also continued my engagement with the SOS Children's Villages International. Having also celebrated my 80th birthday in June, it is hard to believe that over 60 years have flown by since I left Leicester in 1963!
What made you choose Leicester and what has studying at Leicester enabled and inspired you to do since graduation?
When I visited Leicester, I immediately fell in love with the campus, the open and friendly behaviour of the students, and their eagerness to embrace me into their fold. Since graduating, Leicester taught me to strive to and maintain high standards in all aspects of my life which has guided me throughout my life and career.
What is the one skill that the University helped you develop and which you have continued to use?
The University of Leicester helped me develop the ability to question, look for the source, look beneath the surface, gauge the true from the false, and walk straight towards that truth. I continue to use those skills to this day.
Reflecting on your time at University – what are you most grateful for?
When I reflect on my time at Leicester, I am most grateful for the values instilled in me along with the first-class education I received, not forgetting the lifelong friends that I formed!
What was your proudest moment during your time at Leicester and what do you continue to be proud of when thinking about the University of Leicester?
My proudest moment was when I finally understood and mastered a course called "The Use of English as a Literary Medium". At first, I did not even understand the title, but by the end of the course, I was able to do precisely what was intended— and that was my proudest moment. Overall, the experience taught me that I was capable of anything once I set my mind to it. An excellent teacher can inspire their students to heights they had not dreamed of; this has inspired all my career in teaching and education.
What advice do you have for anyone who would like to enter a similar work role to you?
For anyone that would like to follow a similar career path as myself, never forget what a profound influence a teacher or educator can have in shaping the character and career of the students in their care. My advice would be to work hard at what you are good at and enjoy doing; believe that you are capable of anything so long as you are prepared to give it your all; let these guide you to the career or profession you choose.