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Campaign is making a world of difference


When the £60m Making a World of Difference campaign launched in 2010, its ambition echoed that of the University – to use our outstanding, teaching, research and facilities to make a major impact on global society.

As our first major fundraising effort since the 1920s, it took a significant leap of faith. It was launched in the belief that those who had studied here, or had been touched by our work, held the University in such affection and esteem that they would want to help us to achieve that vision.

That faith was not unfounded. Five years on, our Campaign is living up to that bold ambition and making a crucial contribution to the University, its students and its impact on the world.

Thanks to our donors, we are supporting young people’s aspirations, encouraging talent, developing new medical therapies, giving society the tools to better manage global resources, extending our cultural and artistic contribution and providing an outstanding campus.

This video, set across a single day in the University, shows the impact of the campaign through the eyes of some of those who have benefitted from this support.

The sections that follow show some of the many ways in which this generosity is making amazing things happen, both here in Leeds and far beyond.

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Making a world of difference…to our students

Since the Campaign began in 2010, more than 1,000 scholarships – both at undergraduate and Masters level – have been awarded to students from less privileged backgrounds.

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

A further 137 students from across the whole campus have received Undergraduate Research and Leadership Scholarships which allow our brightest undergraduates to gain an early experience of research.

47 medical students have benefited from funding as EXSEL Scholars. “It was the starting point for me,” says Dr Nic Orsi. An EXSEL Scholarship when he was a medical student allowed Nic to deepen his knowledge through research placements including a spell at Harvard. Now back at Leeds as Senior Research Fellow, he is joint leader of the University’s Women’s Health Research Group – and supervises Saman Mukhtar, one of the latest cohort of scholars. “It has really come full circle,” says Nic.

“It was all a bit surreal,” says sports scholar Gordon Benson, reflecting on winning gold at the 2015 European Games. His is the latest success in a sports scholarship scheme which has offered financial and practical support to a parade of rising stars, including Gordon’s training partners Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. All three triathletes now have Rio 2016 firmly in their sights. Between them, our sports scholars came home with six medals from the London Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012.

With dedicated coaching and equipment supported by gifts to the Footsteps Fund, a new boathouse beside the Aire and Calder Navigation 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 Trampolining to Leeds Student Television have been supported through the campaign.

“I’m tremendously grateful.” Dan Pilgrim attributes the success of his graphic design venture to the Enterprise Scholarship he received and the help offered by the University’s business support service Spark. Gifts to establish the InTechnology Enterprise Incubator and the Sir Peter Thompson Awards are encouraging more of our students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality.

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Making a world of difference…to young people and communities

A mile from the city centre, a storey above the traffic and an hour after the schools closed, something remarkable is taking place. At the IntoUniversity Centre in Harehills, children are enjoying the experience of learning. Its template is well-established: the success of the Campaign-funded centre mirrors that of similar centres nationwide and has proved the catalyst for a second centre in south Leeds, supported by the Asda Foundation.

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. With the support of the Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation, the programme encourages them to aim high.

The Thomas Transition Programme works with young people approaching the end of their GCSE study, offers workshops and advice, help with revision and exam preparations and supports them to make the very best choices for their future.

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Making a world of difference…to our
cultural life

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.

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.

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Making a world of difference…to our research

Donors‘ support for scholarships, bursaries, fellowships and equipment are supporting research across campus.

“Leeds is the perfect place for my research,” says Bulgarian-born Diana Sofronieva, whose work at the Inter Disciplinary Ethics Applied centre blends psychology and business studies to examine the role of empathy in the lives of individuals and organisations. Progressing on to doctoral study would have been impossible without a scholarship: “I am so grateful for this support,” she says.

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.

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.

Donor funding 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. Travel bursaries have allowed researchers to deepen their understanding of real world problems and meet those most closely affected.

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Making a world of difference…to our campus

From the calm of the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery to the busy student services of the Marjorie and Arnold Ziff Building, support for the campaign has enhanced facilities for staff, students and our visitors

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.”

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.

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. Gifts from generous donors have further enriched our collections. 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.

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Making a world of difference…over 14,000 donors

A donor wall inside its entrance honours those 2,300 alumni and other supporters who contributed to the development of the magnificent Laidlaw Library.

They include the Garfield Weston Foundation and Wolfson Foundation which have each made significant gifts to the project – and alumnus Irvine Laidlaw whose £9m donation to the project is the largest single gift ever received by the University.

More than 14,000 donors have contributed a total of £5m to the Footsteps Fund which supports a range of range of projects across the campus, including scholarships, heart research and student opportunities. And by remembering the University in their Will, many donors are acknowledging the impact it had on their lives, and ensuring that more bright students can follow in their footsteps, long into the future.

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