Posted Monday 8 January 2024
A Kingston University law graduate, who has donated millions of pounds to improve the lives of young people, has been made a Dame in the New Year's Honours list in recognition of. her services to philanthropy.
Dame Marit Mohn, who graduated from the University in 1994 and was later named an Honorary Doctor of Laws for her outstanding contribution to philanthropy in higher education and the arts, founded the Mohn Westlake Foundation in 2016 along with her son Stian Westlake. To date, Dame Marit has donated more than £100 million to causes across a range of sectors, including the arts, science, culture and education. She has given nearly £7 million to the Royal Opera House alone and has also provided funding for the Rose Theatre in Kingston.
The Mohn Westlake Foundation aims to make a difference to the lives of young people by providing opportunities they may not otherwise have. It recently supported the launch of Kingston University's Centre for Graduate Success. The centre brings together the University's sector-leading outreach work with schools, colleges and community organisations with personal development and targeted support for students who face additional obstacles entering the workforce.
The University's Director of Student Development and Graduate Success, Ali Orr, said funding from The Mohn Westlake Foundation had made an enormous difference in improving opportunities for students. ""The Mohn Westlake Foundation's contribution has been transformative to our students' development," he said. "For the past three years, the funding has provided us with the resources to expand and test what most benefits students before sharing back with the sector. The Centre has also been able to bring graduates on board who know exactly what our students are going through and are able to offer the support and interventions they may need."
In total, the Foundation has donated more than £3.5 million to Kingston University. Alongside the Centre for Graduate Success, it has also contributed to the Head Start summer schools – a programme helping students transition to higher education. The Foundation has also helped fund the Standalone Students scheme, which supports students who are estranged from their families.
The New Year's Honours also brought recognition for another Kingston University law undergraduate. Albert Isola, who graduated in 1983, was awarded a CBE for services to the financial and digital industries in Gibraltar. A barrister turned politician, he has served as a member of parliament in Gibraltar since 1996. Between 2013 and 2023, he was the territory's Minister for Financial Services and Gaming.
Meanwhile, Sukhdev Singh Phull, a 1982 engineering graduate, has been awarded the British Empire Medal. Mr Phull has worked as an engineer for the Department for Transport since 1991 and was recognised for his services to transport technology and charitable work. He established the Ekom Trust, which provides free eye treatment and prosthetic limbs to communities in Africa and India.