Keble college receives largest donation in its history

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Keble College has received the largest donation in its history for a major new development.

The £25 million donation will go towards a £60 million development being conducted by the college at its Acland site, which is located between the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter and the university’s science departments. The development will provide accommodation for 230 graduate students, a 120-seat lecture theatre, exhibition space, and a gym and café. Work on the site will begin in July 2016, with a view to the work being completed by October 2018.

This will be Keble’s largest building project since it was founded in 1870.

The donation has come from the HB Allen Charitable Trust and is the largest grant ever awarded by the trust, which was founded by the philanthropist Heather Allen in 1987. Miss Allen, who did not attend university herself, died in 2005.

Speaking about the donation, Peter Shone, a trustee of the HB Allen Charitable Trust said: “Having made a plan that will probably result in the Trust being wound up by the end of 2020, the Trustees thought it appropriate to make a landmark grant that will stand as a fitting memorial to the philanthropy of Miss Allen. There are few things more enduring than an Oxford College. The grant announced today will not only make it possible for the Acland project to proceed but it will also result in a building which will bear Miss Allen’s name.   

“I am delighted to have identified a project at my old College which has the potential to provide the best possible experience for graduate students coming to the University and to add world-class facilities for accommodation and research to complement those on the existing Keble site.”

The Acland site was formerly a private hospital and was purchased by Keble in 2004; it presently houses 80 graduate students.

The Warden of Keble College, Sir Jonathan Phillips, said: “This and other gifts are an extraordinary demonstration of support for Keble in the context of the University’s Oxford Thinking fund-raising campaign. The Trust’s commitment to the project will enable it to proceed to completion well in advance of the College’s 150th anniversary in 2020 and is at least comparable with the benefactions which contributed to its foundation.”

Image: Diliff