Bricks and mortar: donors are part of the fabric of Colleges

Bricks and mortar: donors are part of the fabric of Colleges

  • Heong Gallery at Downing College with, inset, donors' names inscribed on the Gallery's wall
    Heong Gallery at Downing College with, inset, donors' names inscribed on the Gallery's wall

Images used with the kind permission of Tim Rawle and Louis Sinclair

The 31 Colleges of Cambridge leave a lasting impression on all who pass through them. Philanthropy offers a chance to leave a lasting impression on the Colleges.

A way to give back

At Hughes Hall alumni have given their names to rooms they have sponsored in the new Gresham Court student accommodation block. The building, standing proudly on the edge of Fenner's, welcomed its first students in September 2016. One such alumnus, Kevin Walsh (1991), explained why he felt moved to support the scheme.

“When I did my PGCE at Cambridge all those years ago I had no idea that it would mark the start of a life-long relationship with Hughes. I am a schoolteacher in London these days and I have no doubt that my hugely enjoyable time at Hughes was responsible for setting my career in a favourable direction. For this reason alone I feel a debt of thanks to my old College.”

I am a schoolteacher in London these days and I have no doubt that my hugely enjoyable time at Hughes was responsible for setting my career in a favourable direction.

Kevin Walsh (Hughes Hall 1991)

Inspiring the newest alumni

A major development project at Downing College to provide 78 new student rooms from an existing office building, to create a new First Court, and to convert the original Edwardian stables into an art gallery completed in early 2016. Naming and gift opportunities at all levels – ranging from the whole building down to individual bricks - has allowed 16 of the College’s most recent graduates to become involved in an innovative matched gift programme for young alumni, generously supported by Downing alumnus David Pearson (1951).

Committing to a small monthly direct debit payment for five years during the College’s 2015 Telephone Campaign allowed those who graduated within the last eight years to donate half the full gift amount to have their name inscribed on a brick and see it placed into the wall of the new art gallery. Named for Downing alumnus, Alwyn Heong (1979), the Heong Gallery at Downing College opened to the public on 6 February 2016 with the exhibition 'Generation Painting 1955-65, British Art from the Collection of Sir Alan Bowness'.

In total 352 alumni, Fellows, staff and friends of Downing donated to the First Court & Parker’s House project, raising a total of around £4.4 million. That this ambitious project has been successfully completed is a significant achievement for everyone involved, and the College is extremely grateful to all who have so generously supported it.

Further reading

Colleges provide exceptional academic support and ensure that students are supported throughout their academic career. But they also provide a social hub where lifelong relationships are formed, not to mention some fierce sporting rivalry. The intimacy and scale of a College combined with broad cultural diversity help foster an environment where students are taught how to think, not what to think. More about Colleges and the range of gift opportunities available to philanthropists

 

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