Durham University has received a £7.5 million donation from two alumni, which will be partly used to create a grant scheme for students from the North East.
The scheme, set to be called ‘Durham Inspired – North East Scholarships’, will provide financial aid and support every year to twenty students from low-income backgrounds in the North East of England.
The grant will be available to undergraduate, masters or foundation level courses.
This program is being chaired by Rob Senior, who claims that the donation will aid in proving “underlying means” necessary to allow ambitious but underprivileged students to thrive at Durham.
The large donation was made by Charles Wilson and Dr Rowena Olegario.
The donation is the largest single contribution in Durham University’s history
Wilson graduated from Durham University in 1986 with a degree with Geography, and is currently the Chief Executive of the Booker Group, a subsidiary of Tesco.
Wilson was also the recipient of the Sunday Times Business Person of the Year 2017 and the Financial Times Entrepreneur of the Year 2011.
In a statement, Wilson said: “Rowena and I are delighted to be supporting Durham University and the Durham Inspired campaign. Durham is making an incredible difference to the North East, the UK, and within the wider world; we are pleased that our support will assist the University’s objectives in each of these areas.”
The donation, amounting to a cumulative £7.5 million, is the largest single contribution in the University’s history.
It will play a significant role in helping run various other operations such as the Institute of Hazard Risk and Resilience (IHRR), which was founded by Wilson in 2004 to carry out research in the field of World Natural Disasters.
The grant has been well received, commended by various students and staff
The grant has been well received, commended by various students and staff, with Vice-Chancellor Corbridge deeming it an “extraordinary and hugely welcome demonstration of support for the University’s mission from two very distinguished friends.”
Bethany Henderson, 3rd Year English Literature scholarship student at Durham University from County Durham, said: “These scholarships are such fantastic news for students who live in the North East and want to come to an amazing place like Durham but just don’t know how they can make it all work financially.”
However, some students have drawn parallels between this scholarship and a similar one that was financially scaled back two years ago.
Durham University’s Supported Progression scheme is also designed for North East students from low-income backgrounds.
Upon the completion of a summer school, successful applicants received a reduced offer for their course, and a grant from the University.
Supported Progression students arriving prior to the 2018/19 academic year received a bursary of £5,500 per year (including years abroad and industrial placement years).
However, scholarships for the past two cohorts have been capped “up to £2,000”.
Image: Domstu via Wikimedia Commons