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Hollywood actor Damson Idris returns to campus to collect Alumni Award

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Damson Idris at Brunel's 2024 Alumni of the Year Awards

Last night was Brunel University London’s 2024 Alumni of the Year Awards, and the Hollywood actor and Brunel alumnus, Damson Idris, won the Outstanding Contribution to Culture and Creativity Award. The Snowfall actor picked up his trophy in person, and seven other members of the Brunel community were awarded at a special ceremony and dinner on campus.

Brunel’s annual Alumni of the Year Awards recognise the career successes, outstanding achievements and contributions of Brunel’s alumni, student community or predecessor colleges. Brunel students, staff and alumni vote for the award winners, and a nominee reaching the dizzy heights of Hollywood is an exciting first for the Brunel community.

Since launching as a virtual event in 2020, the number of award categories has increased, and the ceremony has been in-person and online since 2022. Around 100 guests attended last night’s awards, and Damson Idris brought the Hollywood sparkle.

The British actor from Peckham graduated from Brunel in 2013, with a BA in Drama, Television and Film Studies. He quickly secured acting parts in Miranda, Doctors and Casualty, before his breakthrough role in the American drama series Snowfall.

The award winner mastered the American accent to play gangster Franklin Saint for six seasons, from 2017 – 2023, and also stars in films alongside Liam Neeson, Kate Beckinsale and Anthony Mackie. Damson is truly living his dream and has filmed with Brad Pitt for an upcoming fictional film about Formula 1.

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                         Filming for the upcoming Formula 1 film (c) Shutterstock

On collecting his award, Damson expressed how much he learned at Brunel and its impact on his life and career. “This university sparked the idea to be an actor, and I fell in love with acting, theoretically and practically,” he said.

“Brunel taught me how to be brave in this big world and taught me how to cure my ignorance. Brunel has always believed in me, so thank you for this amazing honour.”

Prof Jonathan Wastling, Brunel’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, congratulated all the nominees and highlighted how special alumni are to the university. “Every day we become more aware of Brunel alumni bringing value to society in a variety of different ways through their achievements, so we have created this event to bring our community together to recognise the phenomenal impact that they make,” he said.

“We have over 165,000 alumni in 175 countries, and Brunel has some wonderful values that are embedded in our strategy and commitment to being a global international university.

“Many of our alumni continue to support the university and give back to the institution through volunteering, providing financial support and sharing their experiences with the next generation of students,” he added.

“I want to thank our alumni community and all who go above and beyond for the support that you give to Brunel University London.”


Full list of the 2024 Alumni of the Year Award winners

Outstanding Contribution to Brunel Award

Donna-Marie Holder (BA Education, 2019)

Outstanding Contribution to Science & Engineering Award

Dr Julie Davies (BSc Biomedical Sciences, 2010, PhD in Biosciences, 2014)

Outstanding Contribution to Culture & Creativity Award

Damson Idris (BA Drama, Television and Film Studies, 2013)

Outstanding Contribution to Society Award

Dr Nadia Al-Aboody (PhD Electrical Engineering and Electronics Research, 2017)

Outstanding Contribution to Business Award

Moses Aregbesola (BSc Business and Management, 2022)

Rising Star Award

Dr Sahil Datta (MSc Advanced Electronic and Electrical Engineering, 2016. PhD Electronics and Computer Engineering Research, 2021)

Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Simon Gill (BSc Industrial Design, 1991)

Alumni Advisory Board Award

Chidumaga Unachukwu (MSc Renewable Energy Engineering, 2019)


Click here to watch the 2024 Alumni of the Year Awards.

Reported by:

Nadine Palmer, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 267090