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Former student’s $4 million gift to the University of Leeds

 January 15, 2012 | Simon Jenkins

A $4 million gift from a former student, Peter Cheney (Bacteriology and Biochemistry 1969) and his wife Susan will fund a programme of research and study at the University of Leeds. It is one of the biggest philanthropic gifts ever given to the University.

Peter, a former Co-President of global giant Mars Inc, said he hoped the funding would enable the University to attract the very best scholars, both from the UK and overseas: “I know through my own experience the transformative difference that Leeds University can bring to a person’s life. Hopefully through these fellowships we can give exceptionally talented people the opportunity for a period of intense and creative research and study.”

The funding will free the fellows from some of the usual restrictions of daily life in academia or other spheres.  Their work will be in areas of research and education which are of strategic importance to the University, the fellowships normally lasting between one and two years.

The first fellow, to be recruited to start work in September 2013, will work in one of two key fields – Water Security or Medical Technologies – both significant global challenges and areas of research excellence in the University.

The Cheney’s gift was made through the North American Foundation for the University of Leeds, an independent body which generates grants from the contributions of alumni of the University and its supporters in the US.

Peter Cheney talks about why he supports the University of Leeds Campaign.