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Keble College receives largest donation in its history for major new development

Friday 27 November 2015

The College is to receive a £25million capital grant from the H B Allen Charitable Trust.

This represents the largest single donation in the 145-year history of the College and the largest grant ever awarded by the Trust.

In combination with many other philanthropic gifts and a forty year loan, the grant will enable our long-planned major development of the Acland site to proceed. This is a momentous point in the history of the College.

The H B Allen Trust was founded by Miss Heather Allen in 1987. She was a philanthropist with multiple interests. 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 her philanthropy. The new development will bear Miss Allen’s name.

The H B Allen Centre will house 230 graduate students, more than double our current capacity. There will also be space for research and related spinout activities, in conjunction with Keble’s Advanced Studies Centre. There will be a 120-seat lecture theatre, seminar rooms, an exhibition space, a café, a gym and facilities to house visiting academics. One of the occupants of the research space will be Professor Paul Newman’s Mobile Robotics Group and we are currently in discussion with another significant, potential tenant with strong connections to the University.

The design has been undertaken by Rick Mather Architects. Construction itself will start in July 2016 with the demolition of the existing buildings and we aim to open the new development in October 2018. Further information and the latest drawings are available here.

The Warden, Sir Jonathan Phillips, said,” The gift from the H B Allen Trust and the others we have received are an extraordinary demonstration of support for the College and we are very grateful for this generosity. 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.”

The fundraising Campaign has so far attracted £35.2m in gifts and pledges for the construction project and a further £6.7m for academic posts, scholarships and research.