The University of Birmingham is celebrating after raising an unprecedented £193.4 million for a diverse range of projects including life-saving research and more than 500 student scholarships.
The record breaking Circles of Influence campaign has smashed its original £160 million target and has supported more than 250 projects across campus, including the creation of a new state-of-the-art library and a sports centre featuring the city’s first 50 metre swimming pool, which will be accessible to staff, students and the local community when it opens next year.
Professor Sir David Eastwood, the University’s Vice-Chancellor and campaign donor, said: ‘This amazing achievement is testimony to the approach we have taken to becoming a leading global institution. From its very conception as England’s first civic university more than a century ago, the University of Birmingham has been founded through philanthropy and our donors’ generosity is keeping that vision strong. We are determined to build upon this remarkable achievement by opening access, empowering people to turn their ingenuity into reality and make important things happen.’
The University is at the forefront of developing effective treatments for prostate cancer. Each year more than 37,000 cases of this type of cancer are diagnosed in the UK, and a third of those diagnosed die of the disease. New clinical trials led by University alumnus Mr Richard Viney and supported by the Circles of Influence campaign will make a direct impact on the people of Birmingham.
Mr Viney, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Consultant Urological Surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, said: ‘Thanks to the kindness and generosity of donors my research project, trialling a cutting-edge new combination treatment for prostate cancer, began up to two years earlier than it otherwise might have. The trial gave 20 men with advanced prostate cancer the possibility of extending their life for six months.’
As well as research, Circles of Influence, which is the largest charitable fundraising campaign in the Midlands, has supported the education of students by providing 570 scholarships, including one to Samuel Booth, who has lived in Birmingham since he was four years old, is studying for a Masters in Music and hopes to become a professional musician.
Samuel said: ‘Circles of Influence has really made a difference to me by giving me a scholarship, helping pay for maintenance and tuition fees, and by providing fantastic facilities on campus in the new Bramall Music Building where I can study, rehearse and perform. I can’t thank our donors enough.’
The campaign, which was launched in 2009 and has been supported by 11,000 donors, also helped to fund the Bramall Music Building, which opened in 2012, and the redevelopment of the Lapworth Museum of Geology. These buildings, along with the sports centre, will be open to the local community.
Fundraising will continue for a range of projects that support critical areas, ranging from innovative ways to treat cancer to improving maternal health in Africa.