Alumnus of the Year

With the honorary title Alumnus of the Year, Utrecht University underlines that alumni are an important and integral part of the academic community. Together with students, scientists, alumni, social partners, government, and business, the university seeks solutions to the social challenges of our time. An Alumnus of the Year is someone who advances in his or her field and dares to step outside the box, a socially engaged individual who knows how to inspire today's students. Previous Alumni of the Year were: Marjan Minnesma (2015), Feike Sijbesma (2016), Cathelijne Broers (2017), Jan Beuving (2018), Rutger Bregman (2020) and Marion Koopmans (2021) and Eva González Pérez (2022).

2023: Tim Schuring

Teacher Tim Schuring has been named Alumnus of the Year 2023 by Utrecht University. He received this honorary title on Tuesday, March 26, in the Dom Church during the celebration of the university's 388th anniversary, the Dies Natalis.

Tim Schuring earned the bachelor's degree in Earth Sciences, the master's degree in Earth Surface and Water and the master's (of Education) teacher of Pre Preparatory Higher Education Geography at our university. Since 2020, he has been teaching Geography in secondary education (St. Bonifatiuscollege, Utrecht). There he has developed into an excellent, innovative, creative and beloved teacher who is focused on strengthening the discipline and knows how to interest students in his subject in a variety of ways. He also works at Hogeschool Utrecht, as teacher trainer Physical Geography and geography teaching methodology.

Photo: Bas van Hattum

Inspiring education

With the election of Tim Schuring as Alumnus of the Year 2023, the university emphasizes the importance of good and inspiring education, especially in light of the acute teacher shortage in our education system. The call for special attention to teachers came from the faculties who nominate the Alumnus of the Year. They nominated alumni who manifest themselves in education in special, inspiring and progressive ways, including Schuring who was nominated by the Geosciences faculty.

Tim is a colorful person with an enormous passion for geography and education, who knows how to inspire and enthuse his students and colleagues with a very personal approach and style. In the geography world, for example, he is known for his 'culinary geography': edible home and garden experiments to clarify earth science concepts and processes. He also travels with students through Utrecht in an open-roof bus to show geographical phenomena and examples of spacial planning in their own environment. And he takes his students to Texel to study the landscape using drones. He has also designed virtual field trips as an alternative to fieldwork and uses pop songs mentioning geography to address the misconceptions made therein in his classes.

Tim is actively involved in Geo Future School (GFS). This is an educational stream for vmbo, havo and vwo where students are introduced to the major challenges facing our society. Challenges in the areas of climate change, health, globalization, energy, water, cities, and geopolitics. It is about cross-curricular integral education in collaboration with companies and institutions. Tim is involved with GFS as a teacher at St. Bonifatiuscollege, as a teacher-developer of modules and as a regional coordinator, guiding other schools in creating modules. Within the Royal Dutch Geographical Society (KNAG), he organizes 'Teachmeets' where teachers exchange ideas to further improve education.

Tim is a role model and ideal ambassador


The jury for the election consists of alumni Marjan Minnesma (chairman, director Urgenda), José van Dijck (university professor, board member Utrecht University Fund), Chiara Stam (student-assessor Executive Board), Adriaan ter Braack (science journalist), Maurice Unck (general director Mail Netherlands PostNL, vice chairman Utrecht University Fund).

The jury about the selection

'With the choice of Tim Schuring we gladly respond to the appeal of faculties to underline the special position our alumni can have in education. Tim is a role model and ideal ambassador for this. He is an exceptionally driven and creative teacher whom you wish every child or student has for all subjects. What also distinguishes him is his involvement in virtually all levels of education, from vmbo to university. The fact that he also incorporates interdisciplinarity and cooperation with relevant external parties makes him the rightful winner.'