Every single one of our graduates is an inspiration. Some of them are famous for it.
Sheffield graduate Jessica Ennis believed in herself and became an Olympic champion at the age of 26.
Jessica was born in Sheffield and went to King Ecgbert School in Dore. Determined to get the most out of her education, she took three A Levels then came to the University of Sheffield to study psychology.
While she was here, Jessica nurtured her athletic ability, training six days a week and taking part in competitions. Her teachers supported her all the way.
Jessica graduated in 2007. In the same year, she broke Denise Lewis’s under-23 record for the heptathlon.
In 2009, Jessica showed that determination again, battling back from injury to take the gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.
At the Olympic Games in London this year, Jessica was crowned Olympic heptathlon champion. She set a World Best in the 100m hurdles and achieved a personal best in the javelin and 200m.
Jessica is a patron of our Elite Sport Performance Scheme which launched in 2010 to provide financial and non-financial support to talented student athletes at the University.
Jessica was awarded an MBE in 2011 for her services to athletics and received an honorary degree from the University in 2010.
Bestselling novelist and Sheffield law graduate Lee Child tangles with the FBI, serial killers and assassins on a daily basis.
After university, Lee had a successful career in TV but was made redundant in the nineties. He saw that as a challenge.
When he sat down to write his first novel, Lee created the character of Jack Reacher, a tough, resourceful ex-military policeman with a nose for trouble.
Since then, Lee has written fourteen Reacher novels. Tom Cruise recently bought the movie rights to the books.
In 2009, Lee became a Visiting Professor at the University and launched the Jack Reacher Scholarships to help talented students fund their degrees.
Helen Sharman was 28 years old when she became the first British person in space. Her extraordinary journey began in Sheffield.
Helen was born here and went to Jordanthorpe Comprehensive. After a chemistry degree at the University, one of her first jobs was studying the chemical and physical properties of chocolate for Mars.
Driving home from work, Helen heard a radio ad that changed her life: 'Astronauts wanted’. Her degree gave her the science background she needed to apply. Her sense of adventure did the rest.
Helen beat more than 13,000 others to become the UK cosmonaut on a Soviet space mission. In May 1991, she spent eight days on the Mir Space Station. In 1992, she was awarded the OBE.
When Harry Kroto was at school he didn’t like homework much but he did develop a fascination with chemistry that would one day make him famous.
After a chemistry degree at Sheffield, Harry worked at universities all over the world. In 1996, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discovery of a new form of carbon called buckminsterfullerene.
As a boy, Harry spent his school holidays working at his father’s balloon factory in Bolton, mixing dyes and repairing machinery.
Later in life, he realised the balloon factory had been excellent training, helping him to develop the problem-solving skills he needed to become a scientist.