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Campaign hits £45m milestone!

 June 11, 2014 | Simon Jenkins


Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of over 11,000 alumni and supporters, we are thrilled to have reached the landmark of £45m – three quarters of our £60m fundraising total.

The Making a World of Difference campaign marks the University’s first major fundraising drive since the 1920s and, with continuing support, we’re well on the road to achieving our target.

These funds aren’t sitting in the bank; already they are visibly transforming the work of our students and academics, significantly increasing our impact on the global and local issues of modern life.

Social exclusion from higher education remains such an issue. Many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds never consider higher education, despite their talents and abilities. Through donors’ support we have expanded our work to raise aspirations in schools and communities, working to make Leeds an inclusive, supportive institution. Extending our financial and practical support ensures that students from low-income families receive the assistance and opportunities that will enable them to fulfil their potential and excel in their field.

Most visibly, the campaign’s success is transforming campus with the new undergraduate library, now taking shape on Woodhouse Lane. Supported by a £9m gift from Irvine Laidlaw – the biggest gift received in the history of the University – the library will provide a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance Leeds’ reputation for innovative, modern learning. See our Creating a 21st Century Library project for up-to-the minute news.

Less visible, but equally significant, is the suite of opportunities donors have helped create for our students – scholarships to develop as researchers, athletes, entrepreneurs and community volunteers. We encourage students to challenge themselves, stretching across disciplines to emerge as able, rounded graduates whose experiences at Leeds will fit them for the real-life challenges of the world beyond campus.

Crucially, the campaign supports research that engages with these real-world issues – in medicine, climate change, global society and business. Our teams of researchers marry together academic learning and practical application, implementing their research to make positive changes on both a micro and macro level. Our water@leeds academics Nigel Wright and John Marsham are not only experts in civil engineering and climate prediction: they put this expertise to good use in their work with communities and governments to control flooding, which blights millions of lives. Visit our water project page for more information.

Equally, we have medical researchers seeking out new treatments and cures. A good example of this is our work in heart disease and diabetes, a potentially deadly combination of diseases. These researchers implement a ‘bench to bedside’ approach, working with patients on a daily basis. Motivated by this personal contact, our academics work around the clock to transform their research advances into new working treatments for patients. Read more about our Cardiovascular research.

Gifts are also being channelled towards the arts, supporting purchases for our library and art gallery. Donations have enabled the acquisition and maintenance of rare manuscripts and literary artefacts, including the writing box of Shadrach Stephenson, the first student to enrol in the Yorkshire College of Science upon its opening in 1874. For more information on our archives, see our Exceptional Acquisitions page.

“We have only come this far through the amazing generosity of our donors,” says Michelle Calvert, the University’s Director of Development. “The vast majority are alumni, and the success of our Campaign demonstrates the warm feelings which so many of them hold for the University. Their support is making remarkable things happen, both here on campus and in the wider world.”

Campaign hits £45m milestone!