Inder Hunjan MBE
Speaking about her Investiture in March, Inder said: "It's a massive honour to have received the MBE, especially as I now realise how stringent the selection process is. I also felt very humbled by the experience and very privileged to find myself in a room full of VIPs, including Lord Sebastian Coe and Tracy Emin."
For Inder, it was a real family affair as she was also able to invite her own VIPs, her husband and children, to celebrate the day with her. Her Majesty the Queen, HRH the Prince of Wales and HRH the Princess Royal share the role in presenting the awards. Unfortunately, The Queen couldn't make it; she was scheduled to be in Rome that day, but it also coincided with her recent illness and the cancellation of all her engagements that week.
Inder added: "It was a lovely day, and although I was a little bit disappointed that The Queen wasn't there it was lovely to meet Princess Anne. I did receive a message from The Queen saying she would have liked to have shaken my hand but she let her daughter have the opportunity instead."
Inder is also keen to stress how wonderful it has been to receive so many genuinely nice text messages and emails from friends and colleagues congratulating her. These include a message from retired colleague Marion Charlton, who also happened to be Inder's course tutor when she first came to our University to complete her youth studies degree in 1990. Inder and Marion have been in regular touch since Marion wrote the reference that helped Inder secure her first position working in widening participation at our University nearly 21 years ago, and often invited her to guest lecture to subsequent cohorts of youth studies students.
Speaking on behalf of our University which nominated Inder, Vice Chancellor Susan Price, commented: "I am absolutely delighted that Inder has been awarded an MBE and I would like to take this opportunity to personally congratulate her on this amazing achievement.
"Inder is an extremely valued colleague who has worked tirelessly for many years to expand opportunities in Higher Education and raise aspirations in our local communities: her hard work and dedication to both our University and our region has been and continues to be exemplary."
Talking about the work that led to the recognition, Inder says: "I absolutely love my job which enables me to see young people flourish and develop. Coming from a youth work background it's an absolute privilege to be in a position with the money and facilities to make a positive difference to people's lives that others in my field often struggle to secure."
You can read more about the work Inder and The Access & Widening Participation team do here.
Also honoured this year were finance student and Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee and his coach and former University colleague, Malcolm Brown. Alistair, who is studying for an MSc in Finance, was awarded the MBE, along with the rest of the Team GB's gold medal winning Olympic and Paralympic athletes. He said: "I'm thrilled and honoured, and I'm looking forward to meeting the Queen."