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Philanthropy

Lee Seng Tee Hall, Wolfson College Cambridge

Philanthropy underpins our achievements across the entire College.

Who We Are

Founded by the University in 1965, Wolfson College is defined by its ethos of diversity and egalitarianism. A modern college in an ancient university, Wolfson began as an experiment of ideals put into action. It was the first mixed college in Cambridge to admit both fellows and members of either sex, and it made extensive connections with the world outside Cambridge through partnerships with European universities and with businesses and industry.

With just ten years of initial funding from the University, the College secured its long-term future with the visionary gifts of its founding benefactors, who trusted in our vision of a College both respectful of tradition and unafraid to innovate.

By giving their name and most generous benefactions… [the Wolfson Foundation] have expressed in a unique way their confidence both in the past and in the future, a confidence that an ancient University through new institutions with new aims can make its opportunities for learning and research the means to produce new knowledge and ideas with which the society of the future will be built.

Her Majesty The Queen
at the College’s Royal Opening (1977)

HM The Queen at Wolfson College's Royal Opening in 1977

Build the Future with Wolfson

Today, we are a diverse and international community of students and researchers from across the humanities and sciences. Our students often come from interesting and often non-traditional backgrounds, with varied experiences in both academia and the professions, and our Fellowship includes professors, researchers, authors, lawyers, medics, scientists, engineers, and computer scientists.

Your gift can create life-changing scholarships and fellowships, expand our outreach activities, fund our programme of academic research and interdisciplinary collaboration, and support our efforts to provide students unrivalled academic support in an inspiring environment – physical, intellectual, social, and cultural.

The ALBORADA Scholarships and Bursaries

The ALBORADA Trust supports veterinary and medical science students at Wolfson with a gift of over £1.6m. Their visionary investment ensures that we are able to give excellent opportunities to the next generation of veterinary and medical science students in real need of support. With the Trust's assistance, we have also leveraged extra funding from the University's Cambridge Trust to provide The Wolfson ALBORADA-Vice Chancellor's Scholarship.


Porters' Lodge redevelopment

Dating back to the 1970s, our Porters' Lodge serves as the College's main reception and enquiry point. A major gift from an alumnus funded a major renovation, creating a more comfortable environment for our staff and a better user experience for our students and visitors. The Lodge was updated to current accessibility standards and features a second, lower counter for wheel-chair users. Panelled with sustainably-sourced oak, the Lodge is also more energy-efficient, helping the College reduce its annual upkeep costs.


The Frank Jackson Research Fellowship

Funded by The Frank Jackson Foundation, Dr Rachel Carmenta's work on conservation policy reached global audiences with the 2019 Amazon rainforest fires. Through the Fellowship and her membership in Wolfson, Dr Carmenta collaborates with like-minded researchers in the College to tackle climate change and sustainable development. She continues to work on how conservation and development strategies affect people and forests.

Expanding Your Impact

The College has formed partnerships with the Cambridge Trust, University Departments, Faculties and Schools to turn a recent gift of £390k into scholarships that amount to over £1 million in tuition fees and maintenance grants for Wolfson postgraduate students. Through strategic negotiation we have more than doubled the donor's investment in the education of Wolfson PhD students. This figure does not include the extras that are included in many of these scholarships: faculty funding for conference travel, consumables and in a few cases, fourth-year funding.

Through our stewardship, the gift has supported fourteen PhD students, representing eight different countries and working in ten different scientific disciplines. The supported students are at the top of their fields, selected through rigorous competition at the University level. In accordance with our donor's preference, the gift has funded students engaged in fundamental scientific research that have the potential to transform how we understand and treat diseases. These include research on cancer, Parkinson's and other neurological diseases, and the Zika virus. Other students are working on novel approaches to sensor technologies, machine learning and new techniques in biochemistry and biophysics.

The gift is already building communities of scholarly excellence in these subjects. In a recent survey of current postgraduate students, the top reason that PhD students gave for selecting a first-choice College was the availability of merit-based scholarships in their subject. We partnered with Physiology, Development and Neuroscience (PDN) to partner-fund a full PhD studentship, attracting the top students of the cohort to apply to Wolfson. While we were only able to fund one of these with our Wolfson College-PDN Studentship, many of the rest received full funding from other sources. The College now has a large, close-knit cohort of students in this subject who are delighted to be at Wolfson, including the top ten students of the 2020/2021 applicant pool.

Wolfson has also, for many years, partnered with the Cambridge Trust and the Oxford & Cambridge Society of Kenya to fund an MPhil Studentship for a student from Kenya. As a result, 80-90% of the Kenyan applicants for a Master’s degree course at Cambridge apply to Wolfson. While we usually give only one studentship, many of them will receive funding from other sources and join our community. Our international partnerships help bring the best students around the world to Wolfson, promoting diversity in our membership and sustaining our international reach.

Support our Mission

Your gift will make a lasting impact on our students, our research, and our College. Our Development Director can provide more information and connect you to an area that suits your philanthropic interest. Together we can develop a plan that is both meaningful to you and beneficial to our mission to offer our scholars the opportunity to fulfil their potential and transform society for the good of all.

The College recognises exceptional munificence through the Bredon Fellowship and naming opportunities.

Contact our Development Director by email or on the phone at +44 (0)1223 335922

Lee Library at Wolfson College

Wolfson College is a Registered Charity (No. 1138143). We promise to ensure our fundraising is legal, open, honest and respectful.

registered with fundraising regulator

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