In recognition of a £9 million donation by alumnus Sir Ronald Cohen, Exeter College will name their new building Cohen Quadrangle.
In total, College alumni have now donated £16.5m to the project, which coincides with the 700th anniversary of the founding of Exeter College.
Sir Ronald Cohen, a businessman, political figure and former Oxford Union President who received a scholarship to study PPE at Exeter College in 1964, has now provided the largest gift in the history of the College.
The planned “residential and teaching space” is part of a programme designed to facilitate the provision of up to three years’ College accommodation for all students who wish to live in, and will provide accommodation on Walton Street for third year students from Michaelmas 2016. In addition, the building will contain modern teaching and study facilities for all College members.
Demolition work for the project began in April, with the new campus being designed by Alison Brooks Architects, winners of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award.
Expressing the reason behind his donation, Sir Ronald Cohen commented: “It is at Exeter College that I really learned to think. Education is the one possession that cannot be taken away and I am lucky that I can help future generations of Exeter College students to live in a collegiate environment where their minds are best nurtured and inspired. The stunning design by Alison Brooks will greatly enhance our College’s life.”
The College Rector, Sir Rick Trainor, remarked: “This is the largest gift in Exeter College’s 700-year history. It secures our major new building and it propels us with confidence toward the 21st century ‘collegiate ideal,’ where, for the duration of their degree, students live and study alongside peers and leading academics in top facilities. Funding is always important, but the vision behind this gift is what makes it so transformative.”
Describing the effect this donation and the project will have on College members, the President of the JCR at Exeter, Richard Collett-White, stated: “Most of the JCR look forward to [the project’s] completion, since it will provide a social base and rooms for an entire year group, far nearer Turl Street than ever before.”
He added that this project “is in no way linked to recent anger over an apparently steep reduction in undergrad rooms, which largely turned out to be an administrative error”.
Oscar North, a first year student at Exeter, whose year group will be the first to live on the new site, commented: “We feel excited to have the option of such a modern building for all the benefits that would bring.”