14,000 Footsteps Fund donors

More than 14,000 donors have contributed a total of £5m to the Footsteps Fund, supporting a range of scholarships and student opportunities, and enabling the appointment of PhD student Nele Warmke to join our research into cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

189 New legacies pledged

By remembering the University in their Will, donors are acknowledging the impact it had on their lives, and ensuring that more bright students can follow in their footsteps. Donors who tell us of their intention to leave a gift to the University in their Will are invited to join the Brotherton Circle, named after the greatest individual benefactor in the University’s history.

2,300 Donors supported...

A donor wall inside its entrance honours those 2,300 alumni and other supporters who contributed to the development of the magnificent Laidlaw Library, including the Garfield Weston Foundation and Wolfson Foundation which have each made significant gifts to the project – and Irvine Laidlaw whose £9m donation to the project is the largest single gift ever received by the University.

Our largest gift

Irvine Laidlaw (Economics 1963) credits his time at Leeds as being the foundation of his business life: “Over the years I have followed the progress of the University with great interest. I have been delighted to be able to support Leeds’s work with less privileged young people; the plans for this magnificent new library have given me an opportunity to really cement my connection to an institution which gave me so much.”

Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Building

Arnold Ziff’s own studies were cut short by national service but his family’s relationship with the University continues to this day. Their decades of involvement was marked by an extraordinary gift to enable the construction of the magnificent Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building which brings together the key administrative services which support the student journey.

Laidlaw Library

The Laidlaw Library provides a purpose-built space to meet the needs of today’s student, with 150,000 books and hundreds of thousands more publications available on line through superfast broadband. As Chancellor Melvyn Bragg says: “Architecturally it forms a stunning new entrance to our campus, educationally it provides the stimulating and flexible space needed for future generations of students.”

Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery

Since a gift from the Burton family funded its refurbishment and expansion, the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery has made a growing contribution to the cultural life of the city: hosting important touring exhibitions and curating our own, running educational programmes and organising public events. Gifts from generous donors have further enriched our collections.

Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery

A new public gallery to display treasures from the remarkable Brotherton Collection opened in February 2016 in Parkinson Court, with support from the Brotherton family and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Literary Archivist

Our literary collections are among the finest in Britain; campaign gifts to fund her post have allowed Literary Archivist Sarah Prescott to explore these national treasures and mine their capacity for research, study and sheer inspiration. These collections continue to grow: the archive of poet Simon Armitage, handwritten works by JRR Tolkien and the South Bank Show’s vast video archive are among recent additions to the collection.

4 Members of the Academy of Cultural Fellows

Poet Helen Mort joined the University in 2014 as the third member of the Academy of Cultural Fellows, creative artists whose funding provides the time and freedom for their talents to thrive. For composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad, this support proved a springboard to further success with an album of her work winning rave reviews and her compositions performed at the Proms. The newest fellow, poet Malika Booker, joined the Academy in 2015.

784 Undergraduate Widening Participation Scholarships

“None of my achievements over the past three years would have been possible without your kind gift.” As he graduated in history in 2015, Ryan Edmonds paid tribute to the donor who funded his scholarship. Such gifts shift the horizons for young people – easing their financial worries, opening the varied experiences of student life, and levelling the playing field with those from more affluent homes.

265 Masters Scholarships

A postgraduate qualification can set students apart from other graduates in the job market – but simply for financial reasons, students from lower socio-economic groups are less likely to progress into postgraduate study. By providing scholarships to postgraduate students such as Emma Bourne, left, we are allowing the brightest young people from less-privileged backgrounds to enrol for a Masters degree, deepening their knowledge during a further year of intensive study.

184 Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarships

“I have become a real chemist,” says Kristina Paraschiv. “My experiment actually matters to my professor’s research.” Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarships allow our brightest undergraduates to gain an early experience of research. Mentored by leading academics, these scholars experience that life-changing moment of discovering something that has never been known before, while developing as leaders, critical thinkers and the problem-solvers of tomorrow.

37 Union societies supported

As dawn breaks across South Leeds, the union’s rowing squad begins its morning practice at a new purpose-built boathouse on the Aire and Calder Navigation. With dedicated coaching and equipment supported by gifts to the Footsteps Fund, the boathouse is a new training base for the University crews, ending years of long early-morning trips to use facilities at York. In all, 37 student societies from Television to Trampolining have been supported through the campaign.

80 Enterprise Scholarships

Emma Sheldon established her online fashion brand LVNDR while studying broadcast journalism at the University. With the support of an enterprise scholarship and the practical help available from the University’s award-winning SPARK team, turned Emma’s business dream into reality. Hers is just one of many success stories from this programme.


Every afternoon, children aged from seven and upwards flock to the IntoUniversity Centre in inner-city Harehills for after-school classes. The template for the Campaign-funded centre is well-established and its success mirrors that of similar centres nationwide. A second centre in south Leeds, supported by the Asda Foundation, opened in September 2015.

Reach for Excellence

Learning and enjoyment are the key ingredients of the Reach for Excellence programme, which is opening the prospect of a university education to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Supported by the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, the programme encourages them to aim high, through advice sessions and lectures, a summer school, university visits and individual mentoring.

Read about the latest Reach for Excellence graduation.

35 Travel bursaries

Travel bursaries have taken postgraduate students to the frontline of global research issues, allowing researchers to deepen their understanding of real world problems and meet those most closely affected. Idolo Ifie’s bursary took him to the peasant farms of Nigeria, where his research is helping to ensure the safe development of hibiscus wine – a product with real potential to raise living standards and deliver health benefits.

3 Super Resolution Microscopes

The gift to build a Super Resolution Light Microscope – ten times more powerful than standard light microscopes – was a major step forward for Leeds, giving teams in medicine and biology a key tool for cellular research. The gift leveraged further benefits: new research grants to use this technology, funding for two further super resolution microscopes and a paper on kidney disease published in a leading journal.

38 PhD Scholarships

“When I got this funding it was like a dream come true.” Montu Basak knows that without a scholarship, he would have been unable to fulfil his ambition of studying for a PhD at the renowned Centre for Technical Textiles. His work to develop more effective products for incontinence, exemplifies how such support allows the brightest graduates time and space to seek the answers to pressing questions of modern life.

18 Visiting academics awarded Cheney Fellowships

Australians Neil Coles and Paul Hughes are among a rich vein of talent drawn to Leeds through the generosity of alumnus Peter Cheney. His endowment to establish the Cheney Fellowships has attracted world-leading academics to spend time as visiting fellows at Leeds, strengthening our research capability, and establishing valuable new collaborations with institutions worldwide.

10 Academic posts

Donor funding has enabled Clinical Research Fellow Dr Sebastian Trainor to join a team investigating kidney cancer – an increasingly common cancer for which there are currently few treatments. The appointment of a Professor of Textile Technology and research fellows in sociology, business, politics and healthcare have all been made possible by the Campaign and have further strengthened the University’s research base.