Record £9m gift to University of Leeds will fund new library

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The University of Leeds has received its largest ever donation of £9m which will support the creation of its new-state-of-the art library on its city centre campus.

It has also announced ambitious plans to raise £60m through donors to do more to help people from deprived backgrounds get to university and to support world-class research in areas ranging from cancer treatment to food security.

The launch of the University of Leeds Campaign today builds on the work which has been done to bring in more than 10,000 gifts to the institution in recent years.

Money raised through donations will drive forward research into key health challenges such as heart disease, dementia and tissue repair; support work to cut the carbon footprint of major cities and to ensure the security of vital resources such as food and water. The biggest ever donation announced today has been given to the university by Lord Laidlaw, in whose name the new library in Woodhouse Lane will be built.

The university says the four-storey building, due to open in the spring of 2015, will become a new focus for undergraduate life on campus.

Irvine Laidlaw studied economics at Leeds in the early 1960s.

“This experience showed me how privileged I was and it stayed with me,” he said. “The plans for this magnificent new library have given me the opportunity to really cement my connection to an institution which gave me so much.”

Leeds University’s vice chancellor Sir Alan Langlands said; “Irvine Laidlaw is a committed supporter of the university and the library will become a permanent reminder of his generosity.

“The Laidlaw Library will set a new benchmark for universities across the country – with inspiring study spaces and a state-of-the-art resource centre, it will be a new landmark on Woodhouse Lane.

“It will also be a bold statement of a university which is fully equipped for the modern world and facing the future with confidence.

“I am proud to be leading the university at this important time as we see donors’ generosity to our campaign translating into genuine benefits for students, supporting excellence in research and promoting the part the university plays in the wider community.”