The campaign was launched ahead of the 50th anniversary, with a target of £66 million, to celebrate everything our University has achieved since 1966 and make a bold statement of ambition for our future. Donations to the campaign have improved life across all aspects of the University, funding new centres for research as well as supporting the arts, scholarships, new buildings, sports clubs and student societies.
The Vice-Chancellor (2002- 2018) said:
“This is a tremendous achievement for the University. Our students and researchers are now able to look further than they ever thought possible, thanks to our donors’ generosity. The impact of their gifts is being felt – right now – across the University community and beyond.”
At a special reception at Windsor Castle on 24 May, hosted by the Chancellor, beneficiaries of campaign funding had the opportunity to meet with supporters and update them on the impact that their donations have had.
Generous donations have supported life-changing University research, in areas such as diabetes, wound dressings, autism and much more.
Millions of children worldwide die every year from preventable diseases – their lives could be saved by access to vaccines. Dr Asel Sartbaeva from the Department of Chemistry is developing vaccines which can be transported safely to remote areas without the need for cold storage. She said:
“The donation was amazing because I was able to hire a post-doc, who has been instrumental in moving our project from what was just an idea into something that’s actually working now.”
Gifts have enabled students to develop their ideas into fully-fledged businesses. During his final year project, electrical engineer George Kalligeros created the first prototype of Pushme – a removable device that turns a regular bike electric within seconds – and now employs a team of five people. He said:
“It would not have happened without the support of the Innovation Award. It’s incredibly enabling. Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
Philanthropic support has meant the University has been able to create scholarship opportunities at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level. Our new Gold Scholarship Programme gives 50 new students every year a chance to succeed, whatever their background.
Graduates Sharon Flood (BSc Mathematics 1988) and Jon Lee (BSc Electrical & Electronic Engineering 1987), who support a Gold Scholar, said:
“We’re very impressed by the Gold Scholarship Programme because of the extra support given to scholars. It’s going the extra mile by giving the softer skills, which is what we think is really special about it.”
Building for the future
Investment in cutting-edge campus facilities – from the Roper Centre for Student Services to The Edge – has also accelerated thanks to campaign donations. The new Milner Centre for Evolution, which opened in September 2018, is a leading centre on evolution research, education and outreach. The Milner Centre was conceived thanks to the largest donation the University has received, from graduate Dr Jonathan Milner.
Gavin Maggs, Director of Development & Alumni Relations at the University, said:
“We’re delighted to have reached our goal, and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to my staff – those with us now as well as those who came before – for their dedication, talent and enthusiasm; it has been a pleasure and a privilege to lead a remarkable department. Of course I must also thank our donors, who have been bold enough to invest in our people, in our scholars, in aspiration – the impact of your gifts will be felt for many years to come.”