Sir Bob Murray is to support five Leeds Metropolitan University students by awarding each of them a £1,000 scholarship.
Bob, who was installed as Chancellor of Leeds Met in January, will donate a total of £30,000 over the next six years.
Liam Hawksworth, aged 20, who is just about to embark on the second year of his degree, said that for him, while the scholarship was invaluable financially, more importantly it had given him self-belief.
“During my brief conversation with Sir Bob, he told me not to let my social background hold me back and that I could do anything I wanted to do with the right amount of hard work,” he said.
“To receive a scholarship of any kind is a fantastic privilege, but for me to receive this particular one was amazing as I consider Sir Bob Murray a very inspirational person that I have a lot of common ground with.
“His career in business and more specifically football is very much in line with what I would call my dream career, and to see someone become so successful from a similar social background to myself and keep his working class pride is truly inspirational.
“The scholarship will help me immensely financially, helping to pay for various books to provide further reading for my studies, as well as pay for short courses in accounting computer software. It will also help cover my living costs.”
Bob added; “My own personal experience is very apt. I finally woke up to the value of education at 16 after I had left school with just one O-level and it took me another ten years to finally qualify as an accountant and graduate from here.
“I didn’t get the opportunity to progress straight to University and know it can be difficult for a lot of students and their families. I wanted to demonstrate my belief in and commitment to the University by extending a helping hand to some students during my Chancellorship.”
“This University has great vision, values, and state-of-the-art facilities. More importantly it gets the results that matter for students today with over 90% of graduates in work, further study or both within six months of leaving University.
“I have spent most of my business career in Yorkshire and the North of England and am delighted to be able to help some young people take the first steps in their career.”
Danielle Leonard, who plans to use her funding to help towards living costs and University expenses said; “It means a lot to me to be awarded this scholarship. It gives me the extra income to pay for travel costs from my accommodation to university and the library. I feel very lucky to have been chosen and I am extremely grateful to Sir Bob for this amazing gesture.”
Forida Uddin, 19, added that being selected for the scholarship had given her a confidence boost.
“Receiving this scholarship means a great deal to me as I will be able to focus more on my studies rather than how I am going to pay for them.”
Professor Susan Price, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan, added: “We are delighted that we could work with Sir Bob to create scholarships. We are particularly grateful that, as our Chancellor, alumnus and honorary graduate, he is able to give something back to his university by way of making such a significant contribution to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“These scholarships will make a huge difference to hard working and talented students by helping them cover the costs of living and studying at university.”
Sir Bob’s links with the university go back to 1969 when he moved to Yorkshire to study accountancy part-time at the university’s predecessor institution, Leeds Polytechnic. Some years later, in 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration by Leeds Metropolitan for his contribution to business and sport.
An official ceremony was held in January to officially install Sir Bob as Chancellor.
The scholarships are available to students on courses in Accounting and Finance-related subjects, from the North of England and from low income families earning less than £25,000 per year.