Association of Open University Graduates


Olivia with Ramsey Hertzog

Awards for Regions and Nations 2014

Olivia Smith Region 05 – East Midlands

Olivia had been studying a Design and Innovation degree course with the OU when she suddenly suffered a stroke. She was still in her twenties, a designer of her own jewellery which she produced and marketed from her parents’ garage. She was an able student with a developing business. Olivia came down to breakfast one morning complaining of a severe headache. When the situation did not improve, her parents sought medical help and it transpired that Olivia had had a stroke. Many months of treatment followed and Olivia has been left with long term effects. However she gradually improved and such was her determination and the dedication of OU staff, that she completed her degree. When the Nottingham Regional Centre was informed of her problems they, according to Olivia’s parents, could not have done enough in enabling Olivia to complete her course, in particular, the Student Services Manager (Support and Guidance). This support included home visits and considerable counselling to both the student and parents. In the event Olivia managed to complete her studies and collected a First Class BSc Honours degree.

The presentation had been arranged by the AOUG Executive Representative for the East Midlands and other AOUG local members were in attendance. The venue, at the Nottingham OU Centre, had been organised with the support of the Assistant Director Student Services, Juliet Coleman. The presentation of a framed certificate, along with a cheque and AOUG Information pack, was made by the Executive Representative for Region 05, Ramsey Hertzog. After this, Juliet Coleman gave a speech emphasising what a great student Olivia had been, in spite of her obvious medical problems. Olivia’s father, a medical consultant, and his wife thanked OU staff (many of whom were present at the Award Ceremony). Both Olivia’s brother and sister were also there to congratulate her.