£60 million has been raised to support students and research at Exeter

Fundraising campaign hits target one year early

Alumni and supporters of the University of Exeter have got behind a campaign to raise a record amount in support of the institution’s work.

Since 2012, £60 million has been donated philanthropically to fund vital research into diseases such as dementia, diabetes and cancer; to seek solutions to environmental problems like climate change, plastic pollution and food security; and to understand important economic, social and political dynamics across the world.

Money raised has also supported students to both attend Exeter and also to have the best possible experience during their time at university. Bursaries and scholarships have enabled talented students to continue their education irrespective of their financial background, while sports facilities and student societies have also benefited from funding.

In 2012, the University of Exeter set itself a goal of raising £60 million to support key areas by the end of 2020.  Called ‘Making the Exceptional Happen’, it is the most ambitious fundraising campaign the University has ever embarked on, with a target almost three times the amount raised previously. The generosity of Exeter’s community of alumni and friends has ensured the target was hit early.

Gerry Brown, Exeter alumnus and Chair of the Campaign Board said: “We always knew it would be a challenge to reach this fundraising goal, so to do so early is particularly gratifying.

“The research we do at Exeter makes a huge difference to people lives, both locally and throughout the world, and it’s wonderful that people recognise the importance of this work and feel inspired to help us do even more.

“Obviously our fundraising does not end as there are many challenges our researchers are working on continuously, particularly given the climate emergency, but this is a great milestone to have reached and I’d like to thank everyone who has played a part.”

Dr Shaun Curtis, Director of Global Advancement at the University of Exeter said: “We are incredibly grateful to each and every supporter. Every single pound really does make a difference.

“It’s been a truly transformative fundraising campaign for Exeter and, with one year to go, I look forward to seeing what more we can achieve together by December 2020.”

The ‘Making the Exceptional Happen’ campaign has received a number of significant donations, including the largest single gift received by Exeter – £10 million from the Dennis and Mireille Gillings Foundation for medical research. However it’s not just the major gifts that have impact; many alumni choose to give a small amount each month to a cause they’re passionate about and, combined, these gifts can be life-changing.

The campaign target was reached today with a £225,000 donation from Santander Universities to support student entrepreneurship and widening participation at Exeter.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK said: “Over the last few years we’ve moved to supporting education, particularly students from disadvantaged backgrounds and helping them financially or helping with their experiences – whether that’s joining a club or society, going overseas for the first time or starting a business.”

Alumna Kalkidan Legesse, founder of local business Sancho’s Dress and recipient of a Santander SME internship, entrepreneur grant and winner of the Santander Entrepreneurship Awards said: “The support has been the difference between finding success, being competitive in the market, accessing networks that have amazing experience or trying to figure things out in our bedrooms by ourselves! The support from Santander is valuable for all sorts of things including social mobility.”

Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor at the University Exeter said: “We are delighted to have met our fundraising target and to meet it a year early is an incredible achievement. It shows the number of people and organisations that want to support our students and make a difference through our education and research. Lives have been changed and that is what education, stewardship and sponsorship are all about. We succeed when we work in partnership.” 

To learn more about the campaign and to get involved, visit exeter.ac.uk/exceptional  

Date: 4 February 2020

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