Image description: Linacre College quad, buildings, and trees
Linacre College will ask permission to change its name to Thao College after the SOVICO group signed a memorandum of understanding that it would give £155m to the college. The postgraduate college previously had endowments of £17.7m and have said this will have a “transformative” effect on the College.
Linacre College have announced they will approach the Privy Council after receipt of the first £50m to ask permission to change their name to “Thao College”, which refers to the name of SOVICO’s President, Madam Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao. She is Vietnam’s first self-made female billionaire with an estimated net-worth of $2.7 billion.
The current name, “Linacre College”, refers to Thomas Linacre, an English scholar and medical practitioner in the late 1400s and early 1500s. He taught Greek to Erasmus, Sir Thomas More, and Queen Mary I.
The philanthropic donation was agreed on Saturday and “sets out the intention to create a new graduate centre for our students and endow graduate access scholarships”. In addition, given that they “have long been one of the least well-endowed colleges at the University”, they are “delighted that a significant part of the donation will be for our general endowment fund, to help support the daily running of College”.
SOVICO Group has committed to all its subsidies reaching net zero by the end of 2050, with the help of Oxford academics. The group’s business areas include finance and banking, energy, airlines (including Thao’s own VietJet), real estate, and resort real estate.
Linacre College’s announcement, entitled “Transformative Donation to College”, reads:
“We are very pleased to be able to announce that we have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with SOVICO Group, represented by their chairwoman Madam Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, to receive a philanthropy donation of a total of £155 million. This gift will have a transformative impact on College and we are immensely grateful for their generosity.
The MoU was signed in Edinburgh on Sunday 31st October and sets out the intention to create a new graduate centre for our students and endow graduate access scholarships. We have long been one of the least well-endowed colleges at the University, so we are delighted that a significant part of the donation will be for our general endowment fund, to help support the daily running of College.
SOVICO Group has also committed to all their subsidiaries reaching net zero carbon by the end of 2050 with the input from leading Oxford academics. After receiving the first donation of £50 million, we will approach the Privy Council to ask for permission to change our name from Linacre College to Thao College in recognition of this landmark gift.”
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