• Print

Inspiring alumni 

The University of Nottingham has an amazing alumni community. We are very proud of all our former students and always pleased to hear about new alumni achievements and successes.  

Your community includes leaders and experts in an impressive range of fields and professions - from sport, art and culture to business, medicine and engineering. Read about some of our alumni below...

Dr Tim Brabants MBE, gold medal winning Olympic athlete

Dr Tim Brabants MBE

Gold medal winning Olympic athlete (Medicine 2002)

Tim Brabants is one of the University's most distinguished sporting alumni, and one of Great Britain's most successful canoeists. Brabants has competed in four Olympic Games, netting an impressive collection of medals: bronze in the K-1 1000m event in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, bronze in the K-1 500m event and gold in the K-1 1000m event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Brabants' gold-medal winning performance in Beijing earned him a place in the history books by being the first Briton to win a gold medal in either the sprint or slalom kayak discipline. In addition to his Olympics success, Brabants won three silver medals and one gold medal at the 2006, 2007 and 2010 World Championships.

He remains an outstanding University ambassador, always prepared to share his knowledge and strengths to inspire many of our current student athletes. He has also used his degree and is now a practising physician.  



Brian Moore, former British and Irish Lions rugby hooker

Brian Moore

Former England and British and Irish Lions rugby hooker (Law 1984)
Brian Moore is a former England and British and Irish Lions rugby hooker. Moore represented England from 1987-1995, winning a total of 64 caps, making him one of the most capped English players. Moore played in three Rugby World Cups and was a member of the England side which won Grand Slams in 1991, 1992 and 1995. In addition, Moore also went on two British and Irish Lion tours, winning five test caps.  
A popular figure, Moore was voted Ruby World Player of the Year in 1990. Since retiring, he has been a prolific and sometimes controversial commentator and analyst of the game with the BBC, and has been nominated for a number of sports journalism awards.
Ruth Wilson, Golden Globe award winning Hollywood actress

Ruth Wilson

Golden Globe award winning Hollywood actress (History 2003)

Actror Ruth Wilson has had a meteoric rise to fame since first treading the boards of the Nottingham New Theatre as a student at the University. 

After graduating from Nottingham, Wilson studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Her first major role saw her take the title role in the BAFTA nominated mini-series Jane Eyre. Since then, she's gone on to global success with roles in Anna Karenina, The Lone Ranger, Luther and Saving Mr Banks. Alongside her film career, she has also built up an impressive theatre resume, including a Best Actress award at the 2012 Olivier Awards for her role in Anna Christie

In January 2015, Wilson solidified her Hollywood success when she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Series Drama for her work in American murder mystery The Affair.  

More recently Wilson took on the role of the infamous Mrs Coulter in the 2019 BBC adaptation of the His Dark Materials series by author Phillip Pullman. 




Dr Deng Yaping, gold medal winning Olympic athlete

Dr Deng Yaping

Gold medal winning Olympic athlete (Contemporary Chinese Studies 2002)
Legendary table tennis star Deng Yaping is one of the University’s most decorated sportswomen. Enjoying superstar status in her native China, in 1999 Yaping was named as China’s Athlete of the Century. When she retired at the age of 24, she had more titles than any other player in the sport. Among those titles included four Olympic gold medals (gold medals in both the singles and doubles events at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics) and 18 World Champion titles. She held on to the world number one position in table tennis in a glorious reign from 1990 to 1997, and became a member of the International Table Tennis Federation Hall of Fame in 2003.  
In addition to her sporting excellence, Yaping is also committed to helping nurture young sporting talent and currently sponsors a scholarship scheme at the University which offers talented Chinese students the opportunity to combine an international education with performance sport opportunities across Europe. 

Sir John Sawers, former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6

Sir John Sawers

Former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 (Physics and Philosophy 1976)

Sir John Sawer's remarkable diplomatic career spans more than 30 years and a range of distinguished and varied roles. He began his career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, working in Yemen and Syria followed by a posting to South Africa from 1988-1991 during the first part of the transition from apartheid. 

From 1995-1998 Sir John was based in the USA, spending a year as an International Fellow at Harvard University before joining the British Embassy in Washington where he headed the team dealing with foreign and defence policy issues. He then became Foreign Affairs Adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair, followed by two years in the Middle East as Ambassador to Cairo and the British Government's Special Representative in Baghdad for three months. 

From 2003-2007 he was Political Director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he advised the Foreign Secretary and was particularly closely involved in policy on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. 

From 2007-2009 he was Britain's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. In June 2009, he left this post to take up his career crowning role as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6. Sawers retired from the role after five successful years in November 2014. 


London Grammar, award winning electro pop trio   London Grammar, award winning electro pop trio 

London Grammar

Award winning electro pop trio, Dot Major (English 2012), Hannah Reid (Art History and English 2011) and Dan Rothman (Economics and Philosophy 2011)

London Grammar are one of the University's more recent success stories. Dan and Hannah met during their first year at Nottingham in Ancaster Hall, and met Dot during their final year. Their sound is characteristically stripped-back and minimalistic, allegedly the result of an initial lack of agreement on the direction their music should take. 

The band's first gig was at the Bag o'Nails in Lenton, but playing for fun stopped when they were spotted by a talent scout and signed to the Ministry of Sound label.    

Their platinum-selling debut album, If You Wait, was 2013's iTunes Album of the Year and a Brit Award nomination followed for Best British Breakthrough Act in 2014. Their single Strong was an Ivor Novello Award winner in May 2014. Since then, they have headlined music festivals and had sell-out shows across the UK.



DH Lawrence, novelist, poet and playwright

DH Lawrence

Novelist, poet and playwright (Teaching Certificate 1906)
The novelist, poet and playwright, who wrote one of the twentieth century's most controversial novels, Lady Chatterley's Lover, was a student at the former Nottingham University College between 1906 and 1908. He studied in the imposing gothic building on Shakespeare Street in Nottingham city centre, which now belongs to Nottingham Trent University. 

When the University moved to its current University Park campus in the 1920s, Lawrence wrote a somewhat sardonic poem entitled 'Nottingham's New University' to commemorate the occasion.

After spending a couple of years as a teacher upon graduating from Nottingham, Lawrence soon left the teaching profession to fully focus upon writing. 


Theo James, Hollywood actor

Theo James

Hollywood actor (Philosophy 2007)

One of our successful Nottingham New Theatre alumni, Theo James has been making a name for himself in Hollywood with a starring role in the popular Divergent film series. 

After graduating from Nottingham, Theo Taptiklis, as he was known at the time, went on to study at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. After being cast in two films while he was still in his final year, he was hailed as 'one of the year's brightest new acting graduates' in 2010.

Alongside his breakthrough role in the Divergent series, Theo has seen success on British screens as a Turkish diplomat in Downton Abbey and a role opposite Billie Piper in A Passionate Women, and in the US in Underworld:Awakening and CBS's crime drama Golden Boy


Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline and Chancellor of The University of Nottingham 

Sir Andrew Witty

CEO of GlaxoSmithKline and former Chancellor of The University of Nottingham (Economics/Agricultural Economics 1985)

Sir Andrew Witty joined GlaxoSmithKline upon graduating from Nottingham in 1985. He has worked in the UK, South Africa, the USA and Singapore in various senior roles. 

In 2003, he was appointed President of GSK Europe and joined GSK's Corporate Executive Team. In 2008, Witty became Chief Executive Officer of GlaxoSmithKline plc. 

On 12 March 2013, Sir Andrew Witty was officially installed as the seventh Chancellor of The University of Nottingham. The Chancellor has a number of key roles including ceremonial duties – playing a formal part in graduation ceremonies – and acting as an ambassador and advocate of the University in the UK and around the world. He also acts as a key adviser on matters of major strategic importance to the development of the University.


Get involved


Alumni Relations

Portland Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 823 2408
fax: +44 (0)115 951 3937