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University fundraising campaign passes £100 million target

The Wills Memorial Library Fotohaus

Press release issued: 3 July 2014

The University of Bristol’s Centenary Campaign has passed the £100 million fundraising target six months ahead of schedule – thanks to the generosity of more than 19,500 alumni, friends, staff and students.

In 2009, Bristol University celebrated the 100th anniversary of the granting of its Royal Charter. To mark this milestone, it launched the Centenary Campaign to raise funds with the aim of maintaining and improving on the University’s past successes.

Donations from the Centenary Campaign support a wide variety of programmes and projects within the University, as well as important outreach and widening participation work.

Initiatives that have been made possible by campaign funds include Access to Bristol and IntoUniversity, which have enabled thousands of disadvantaged secondary school students to experience university.

Centenary Campaign Chair, Bristol alumnus Roger Holmes (BSc 1981, Hon LLD 2013), said: “This is a tremendous achievement both for, and by, the University. Over 19,500 donors have come together so far to support talented students, life-changing discoveries, and more, with gifts worth more than £100 million. The impact of Bristol’s Centenary Campaign will be felt for generations to come.”

The donations have also helped the Alumni Foundation to support hundreds of Bristol student societies and sports clubs. Hundreds of Bristol students now receive bursaries and scholarships, many more than would have been possible otherwise.

Research at Bristol has benefited thanks to the campaign. Funding for more than a dozen post-doctoral fellows and the endowment of five new academic chairs has brought some of the best academic minds to Bristol.

More than 35 Bristol academics have won Royal Society Wolfson Merit Awards since the campaign launched publicly in 2009. Crucial discoveries have been made in areas of life-changing research such as Alzheimer’s disease, climate change, wound healing, classical reception and nanotechnology. For example, brain damage in oxygen-deprived infants is being minimised thanks to pioneering new treatment developed at the University of Bristol.

Money raised by the Centenary Campaign has also refurbished four of Bristol’s libraries, including the recent overhaul of the Wills Memorial Library. More than £2 million of books and journals have been purchased for University libraries and Bristol was also able to acquire and house the Mander and Mitchenson Theatre Collection.

Tania Jane Rawlinson, Director of Campaigns and Alumni Relations, said: “The impact donors have had through their support of Bristol’s Centenary Campaign is breath-taking. Every gift has been vitally important, whether it’s 10 donors of £100 who together provided a student bursary, a single legacy donor whose estate has endowed a Chair in genomics, or a foundation which purchased a new MRI scanner so Bristol scientists can develop treatments for dementia, stroke, diabetes and other diseases. We are grateful to all our supporters thus far, and hope others will want to donate in the final six month stretch of the Centenary Campaign.”

A full report of the Centenary Campaign’s achievements, including information about the final sums raised, will be published after the campaign concludes on 31 December 2014.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Eric Thomas, said: “The University of Bristol has broken an important barrier with this £100 million Centenary Campaign achievement. Back in 1909, it was only thanks to Henry Overton Wills’ gift of £100,000 that the University was able to gain its charter.

“Now, more than one hundred years on, donors’ generosity remains an important key to unlocking learning and discovery at the University of Bristol.

“I am grateful to every single person who has contributed to Bristol through the Centenary Campaign. With the continued and growing support of our donor community, Bristol can look forward to a bright future as we continue our mission of learning and discovery.”

Support Bristol University’s Centenary Campaign here.

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