New postgraduate home gets a boost thanks to generous donation

A building dedicated to the teaching of business students at the University of Birmingham will bear the name of a noted economist after his widow gave a generous £2 million gift in his memory.

The Alan Walters Building, currently under construction alongside Pritchatts Road on the University’s Edgbaston campus, will be named after a former Professor of Econometrics and Social Statistics who also served as Chief Economic Adviser to Her Majesty’s Government.

The building, which will open to students in 2016, will be devoted to the teaching of postgraduate courses at Birmingham Business School, including MBAs. It will contain several distinctive features for students of Business School postgraduate programmes, including a Harvard-style lecture theatre.

Sir Alan became a lecturer in Econometrics at the University of Birmingham in 1951. In 1961, he was appointed Professor of Econometrics and Social Statistics and remained at the University until 1968, when he went to the London School of Economics as Sir Ernest Cassel Professor of Economics. He was also Chief Economic Adviser to the Government, as well as Economic Adviser to the World Bank. Although Lady Walters did not meet Sir Alan until they were both in London, Lady Walters also studied at Birmingham, graduating with a BA in English in 1970 and a Certificate in Education in 1972.

Lady Walters said: “I hope this gift in memory of my late husband will inspire the next generation of Birmingham students to go on to achieve great things. My husband and I both had fond memories of our time at Birmingham, and the new building will be a stimulating place to study, giving postgraduate students the dedicated space they need to carry out their studies. I very much look forward to visiting the building on completion and am delighted that the University is investing in such a high quality facility to benefit its students.”

The donation is part of the University’s Circles of Influence fundraising campaign, which is on target to exceed £160 million in support of projects as diverse as the University’s new secondary school to breast and prostate cancer research.

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: “We are hugely grateful for this generous donation. Our University was founded on philanthropy, and gifts such as this are vital in order to give our students the very best facilities to help them to achieve their potential. The Alan Walters Building will provide a modern and inspirational home for our postgraduate community in the Business School.”

The University of Birmingham is investing close to £500 million over five years to transform its famous Edgbaston campus and several other sites with new facilities for the benefit of students, staff and the local community, reinterpreting the vision of founder Joseph Chamberlain, who wanted the University to be an asset for the city.

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For further information, please contact Kara Griffiths at the University of Birmingham on +44 (0)7812671797.