The University of Leeds has announced a £60m fundraising campaign to create new student opportunities, push forward its research and support its vision of a place among world-leading universities.
Despite many technological advances since he and I were undergraduates, the library remains a fundamental part of student life. The Laidlaw Library will set a new benchmark for universities across the country with inspiring study spaces and a state-of-the-art resource centre, it will be a new landmark on Woodhouse Lane. It will also be a bold statement of a university which is fully equipped for the modern world and facing the future with confidence.
I am proud to be leading the University at this important time as we see donors generosity to our Campaign translating into genuine benefits for students, supporting excellence in research and promoting the part the University plays in the wider community.
The Campaign has already attracted a number of other generous donations:
- A £2.5m gift from Bacteriology and Biochemistry graduate Peter Cheney and his wife Susan has established a programme of fellowships, attracting leading academics to develop their research at Leeds;
- A donation from Economics and Politics graduate Michael Beverley enabled the University to build a Super Resolution Light Microscope, which has already had a significant impact on research in a variety of areas including heart disease and dementia;
- The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation is funding the Universitys Reach for Excellence programme for five years, supporting work in local schools and communities to encourage more local young people to aim high and achieve their full potential.
The new library will be a magnificent new asset for our campus, and I am so grateful to Irvine for this wonderful act of generosity.
Further information and images:
For further information please contact Simon Jenkins, senior press officer at the University of Leeds, tel: 0113 3437231, mob: 07791 333229, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A photograph of Lord Laidlaw is available on request, as are artists impressions of the planned Laidlaw Library.
Notes to editors:
- The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise showed the University to be the UK's eighth biggest research powerhouse and the University's vision is to secure a place among the world's leading universities. www.leeds.ac.uk
- Irvine Laidlaw was born in Scotland in 1942. After graduating from Leeds in 1963, he studied for an MBA at Columbia University. He founded the Institute for International Research (IIR), growing it to become the world's leading company providing conference organisation, training and knowledge and skills transfer, with over 3,000 staff in at least 40 countries. He joined the peerage as Baron Laidlaw of Rothiemay in 2004. Since selling the company in 2005, he has devoted himself to philanthropic activities. His Laidlaw Youth Project, which ran for five years from 2004 to 2009, helped disadvantaged children and young people in Scotland develop ambitions and raise expectations; he has also funded the Excelsior Academy in Newcastle-upon-Tyne; has provided support to a school in his home town of Keith and to his former school in Edinburgh; and has made substantial donations to English National Opera, Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Prince's Trust and many other charities. He has also given much support to charities in South Africa. In 2013 he was inducted as a founder member of the Universitys Court of Benefactors, in recognition of previous gifts to support students from underprivileged backgrounds and research opportunities for the most able undergraduates.
- The gift supports the Universitys Making a World of Difference Campaign the institutions first major fundraising initiative in the post-war years. Gifts to the Campaign are supporting key University research projects in the areas of Human Health, Global Society and Business, Climate Change and Arts and Culture, while also providing support for young people from less privileged backgrounds to aim for a place at University, and creating a range of inspirational opportunities for our students. This gift takes the total raised for the Campaign to more than £40m. campaign.leeds.ac.uk
- The Laidlaw Library will provide over 1,000 new individual study spaces equipped with power points and the high-end connectivity needed for laptops, tablets and phones, which will give users access to online materials through the mobile devices many use as an integral part of their work. Flexible group study spaces will allow students to work together on joint assignments and presentations, reflecting the way modern learning is based as much on collaboration and interaction as it is on solitary study. Its community classroom will host outreach work with local schools and colleges, encouraging talented young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to aim high. A café and courtyard will encourage its use as a social centre; artwork from our gallery and collections will be put on public display; picture windows will afford a panoramic view south across the city; its steps will be a meeting place as resonant for the modern student as the Parkinson Steps have been for generations.