Athletes from the University of Stirling’s International Sports Scholarship Programme (ISSP) were recognised this week at a special reception to acknowledge their achievements and role at the heart of the university’s sport community.
As part of the event, former world duathlon champion, and Stirling alumna, Catriona Morrison, addressed the athletes, commending them on securing scholarships for the current academic year and sharing stories from her own experiences as a sport scholar at the University.
The ISSP, which provided its first scholarship in 1981, focuses on supporting talented sportspeople in their pursuit of academic attainment alongside high performance sport. There are currently 89 scholar athletes in the programme competing in triathlon, golf, swimming, tennis, curling and football, producing regular international and domestic success, including medals at last summer’s Rio Olympics
Speaking at the event, Cathy Gallagher, Director of Sport at the University of Stirling said: “The International Sports Scholarship Programme is one of our flagship initiatives and, as the first of its kind in Scotland, something we are immensely proud of. For over 30 years we have been developing the programme, ensuring its philosophy delivers maximum impact and the results today are as strong as ever.
“As well as acknowledging their important role at the University, today is an opportunity to celebrate the students’ ongoing achievements and I have no doubt that listening to Catriona’s experiences will inspire them to even greater heights.”
Catriona Morrison added: “Student athletes have a unique challenge in trying to combine studies with training and competing at the highest level of their respective sports.
“Having benefited from the University’s scholarship programme, I know that it ranks highly in the UK Higher Education sector, providing important academic flexibility alongside professional, high quality support for sport.
“Seeing the athletes today reminds me of the positive experience I had whilst at Stirling and I hope they continue to make the most of their time here.”
The University of Stirling was the first university in Scotland, and the second in Britain, to offer sport scholarships which combine academic flexibility with elite level sport support. Established in 1981, the International Sports Scholarship Programme has assisted more than 1000 students, and invested over £4 million in the development of athletes.