Imperial College London

Generous gift funds new Engineering scholarship for student with a disability


Students sat next to stone lions at Imperial. They are wearing face coverings and are chatting.

The Faculty of Engineering will offer a new scholarship to a student with a disability in 2022.

The John and Rita Henke Scholarship will award one student £12,500 a year for four years to undertake a course within the Faculty of Engineering. The scholarship is open to any student resident in the UK who has a disability and demonstrates exceptional academic potential and financial need.

John and Rita Henke with their son Russell
John and Rita Henke with their son Russell

Students who study in the Faculty of Engineering access their learning in a number of different ways including group work, tutorials, coursework, lectures, practical classes and independent study often leading to a final year project or dissertation. A student with a recognised disability may have significant issues accessing some of those learning styles. Combined with financial hardship this can influence how a student approaches their studies.

Lorraine CraigDr Lorraine Craig, Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching, said: ‘John and Rita Henke’s scholarship has the potential to make a significant difference for a student studying in the Faculty of Engineering. I can think of several students who managed their disability throughout their degree studies, to who this scholarship would have made a major impact on their student experience. A scholarship helps students achieve their potential without the ongoing concern about having enough funding to support them.’

Maureen O’Brien, Head of Imperial's Disability Advisory Service, said: ‘John and Rita Henke’s scholarship is a very generous and welcome gift. It will make a significant positive contribution to a disabled student studying in the Faculty of Engineering. Disabled students typically have to work much harder than their non-disabled peers and encounter significant expense related to their disability or impairment. This scholarship, which will provide an educational opportunity with no financial burden, should offer a springboard to career and lifetime opportunities’. 

Find out more about scholarships at Imperial using our Scholarships search tool.


Helen Wilkes

Helen Wilkes
Faculty of Engineering

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