Trinity College has received a donation of over £5 million from an alumnus, which will go towards providing bursaries for students who have lost one or both parents.

Peter Levine, a multi-millionaire oil magnate who studied at Trinity in the 1970s lost his father while at university studying Jurisprudence, and his mother shortly afterwards.

The money which he has donated to the college will be used to provide grants to students who are in need but do not qualify for Oxford bursaries. Unusually, undergraduates who have lost a parent will take priority, marking the first time since the Victorian era that money will be set aside at Oxford specifically for bereaved students.

Kevin Knott, the Acting Development Director at Trinity, confirmed the donation, telling Cherwell that “[the donation] will be applied to establishing endowments for two or possibly three Fellowships, towards building works, and to supplement what the University and the College is already doing in terms of providing financial support for undergraduates.”

Knott stressed the increasing need for financial support from alumni, saying that he hopes “the donation will encourage even more old members to provide funding for student support, particularly in the light of the tuition fee increases in 2012.”

A Trinity finalist praised Mr Levine’s generosity, saying, “I think it’s a fantastic donation and the student body is thrilled at the gesture, if it is spent on improving access. Trinity has high rent and a pretty poor reputation for access, and if donations like this are spent on countering that image, we are extremely grateful to Mr Levine.

“It’s really important that we foster a culture of giving to our schools and universities in Britain, and it’s great that actions like this get the media attention they deserve, as it will hopefully inspire others to follow.”

Levine, 55, founded the oil exploration and production company Imperial Energy in 2004. He sold it for £1.4 billion in 2008 to an Indian energy firm, earning him a personal gain of £90 million. In May 2011 The Sunday Times Rich List valued his net worth at £120 million.