LEEDS UNIVERSITY has declared the ambitious goal of raising £100m through donations from former students by the end of the decade after smashing through a major fundraising target.
It will announce today that its Making a World of Difference campaign to attract support from alumni has now passed the £60m mark and will be extended for another four years.
This money has been raised through 15,000 donations from around the world – from small offers to the largest of £9m which helped build the university’s new library.
The university said the funds raised support world-class research, into areas such as treatments for cancer, as well as helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in the city to make the most of their education.
The university’s vice chancellor Sir Alan Langlands thanked donors who have already shown their support to the fundraising drive.
But he told the Yorkshire Evening Post more money still needs to be raised. “Further investment is crucial to achieving our ambitions,” he said.
“In a globally-competitive environment, we cannot rest if we are to continue to attract the best staff, and outstanding students.”
The campaign has helped pay for after school classes at two IntoUniversity learning centres in Harehills and Beeston which work with hundreds of children from primary school upwards.
These centres aim to raise the attainment of youngsters in these inner-city areas.
A second scheme, Reach for Excellence, has also been paid for through alumni donations. This helps 16 to 18-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds at Yorkshire schools to stay on track with their studies and aim for a place at university.
Funds raised through alumni donations are also helping to support university research including a team working on finding a revolutionary viral therapy for brain cancer.
The most visible sign of the campaign is the new Laidlaw Library, near the university entrance on Woodhouse Lane.
It is named after Irvine Laidlaw, who studied economics at Leeds in the 1960s, and whose £9m gift for the project is the biggest ever received by the university.
His name is one of 2,300 which appear on the donor wall inside the entrance.
Thanking all the donors for their support, Sir Alan Langlands added: “Our campaign is making a crucial contribution to the university, its students and its impact on the world.
“We are deeply grateful for the support of all our donors which will expand the intellectual horizons of our students, grow our research and develop our campus.”