University College has received a £10 million donation from a group of alumni this week in order to support postgraduate study. 

The money will fund the college’s new ‘Oxford-Radcliffe Scholarships’ which are available in a wide range of subject areas to postgraduate students from across the world, and is the largest single gift that the College has received in modern times. The group of alumni behind the bequest are said to be motivated by their desire to see talented graduates pursue their ambitions, regardless of financial position.

Sir Ivor Crewe, Master of University College, explained the significance of the donation. He said, “Our graduate students are a vibrant part of life at Univ and make a critical contribution to the outstanding research and scholarship accomplished at Oxford.

 “This munificent benefaction will transform the college’s provision of scholarships for our graduates, enabling the college to arrange within the next five years for a large majority of its graduates to be fully supported and to attract the most academically talented students from across the world – students who will lead and shape the future.”

The donation will trigger an additional £6.7 million in graduate support from the University due to its recently announced graduate matched funding scheme. The original gift is accompanied by a challenge set by the group of benefactors for the college to secure further donations of £8 million over the next five years. In the case of the college reaching this new fundraising target, a further £5.3 million of funding would be received from the university, raising a total of £30 million for the college to spend on supporting graduate study.

Tristen Naylor, President of Univ’s Weir Commom Room (MCR) and Chair of the MCR Presidents’ Committee, said, ‘We are tremendously grateful for this generous and unprecedented gift to the college. This incredible benefaction will make huge and lasting difference to graduate studies at Univ.’

Naylor also saw the potential for further donations, saying, ‘I’m hopeful that the endowment will encourage others to make similar gifts to the University. Fully-funded graduate scholarships are essential if Oxford wants to continue to attract the best students and remain as one of the world’s top institutions.”

He added, “Presently, particularly compared with the top North American institutions, this is where Oxford is lagging. I sincerely hope that this prompts a surge in new donations to support graduate studies at Oxford.”

Christopher Gray, OUSU’s Vice President for Graduates, also saw benefits for the University as a whole, commenting, ‘This donation is a welcome leap forward in graduate funding, an issue which the Student Union has been campaigning on for a number of years. It demonstrates that there are donors out there who recognise the importance of graduate scholarships, and of graduate students themselves, to Oxford.’

He continued, “It’s also clear that the University’s matched funding scheme is working, and that the race is now on across the University for departments and colleges to take advantage of it before the money runs out. At a time when the majority of new graduate students are self-funded we will be doing everything we can to make sure this happens as quickly as possible.’