The Davidson-O’Connor Sport Scholarship is a one-year award for a female or female identifying, student studying at the University of Brighton who is participating in field hockey at an elite or talent level. The award is made possible by donor and alumnae, Dr Judith Davidson, in memory of fellow alumnae Maureen O’Connor who played field hockey for England. It is managed through the Sport Scholarship programme, awarding annually an Elite (£1,000) or Talent (£500) scholarship to eligible students.
Judith A. Davidson, PhD - Chelsea College, 1966/67
President, United States Field Hockey Association 1984-1992
‘While at Chelsea, I had the opportunity to play goal keeper on the field hockey team. In those days Chelsea fielded 6 teams and being an American and new to Chelsea I was placed on the sixth team, the first team being the best. Sometime thereafter I was moved up to the first team and we did not lose another game that year. More importantly, I had the good fortune to become a friend of Maureen O'Connor, later Fisk, or "Con" as she was called then, a forward line player. We often practiced against each other, she attempting to score, me attempting to stop her. We pushed each other to make our respective national teams and play against each other. While Con did later play for England, I was elected President of the United States Field Hockey Association so we ultimately did represent our respective countries through field hockey.
All that was a long time ago. Sadly, more than 20 years ago and far too young, Con passed away from breast cancer. I could think of no more fitting way to show my gratitude for what I learned at Chelsea College and the friendship that spurred me to be the best I could be than to help provide an opportunity to a young person to become all that she or he can be. Hopefully in time, this gift will go on in perpetuity. In a small way it's my way of giving back to an institution that helped shape my life.
The friendships and teaching at the Chelsea College in Eastbourne left a legacy on Judith’s life. Now Judith is creating her legacy to support the next generation of international Hockey players training and learning at the university.
Lauren Roberts, the first recipient of the scholarship in 2019, was called up to the senior Welsh team having received the ‘Goalkeeper of the Tournament’ award at the European Under-21s Championship. Reflecting on her first international cap, Lauren said: “It was an unforgettable moment. Going into the competition I was excited about the experience of being at a senior competition, but wasn’t expecting to play due to having limited experience in a senior environment. Without the contribution of Dr Judith Davidson, I wouldn’t have been able to fund my international hockey pursuits.”