New donor installation recognises Imperial’s most generous benefactors


The donor installation installed in College Main Entrance. It comprises of circles of glass in warm colours bearing donors' names

Imperial College London celebrates the significance of philanthropy to our students, researchers and the wider world.

President Hugh Brady marked the launch of the Circle of Benefactors, which celebrates Imperial's most generous donors and charity funders who have had a transformational impact on the College and its community.

President Brady welcomed more than 80 guests to commemorate the launch and recognise the integral role that philanthropy plays in Imperial’s mission to achieve enduring excellence in research and education for the benefit of society.

As part of the Circle of Benefactors’ launch, a new donor installation was unveiled in the College’s main entrance on Exhibition Road, which bears the names of the members of the Circle and publicly acknowledges their support.

Exceptional philanthropy

The Circle of Benefactors currently comprises over 50 members and includes alumni and other individuals, trusts and foundations, charity funders and corporate partners.

The generosity of this group of funders makes a significant difference to every aspect of life at Imperial. Their gifts have enabled the establishment of new research centres, programmes and facilities that help make Imperial one of the most innovative and impactful universities in the world and supported generations of students to succeed through scholarships and bursaries. They have helped establish new research posts to attract world-class academics and train the next generation of researchers, and connected more people with the joy of science and innovation through support for Imperial’s outreach programmes.

  • Katrina Pollock smiles at the camera, wearing scrubs and a stethoscope around her neck

    Dr Katrina Pollock, Senior Clinical Research Fellow in vaccinology and Honorary Consultant in genitourinary medicine: “Donors share our vision and give us the financial freedom to work towards that vision.”

  • Anna Strampelli holds up a cube with a white covering in the lab studying research into malaria.

    Anna Strampelli, PhD student and scholarship recipient in the Department of Life Sciences: “The scholarship I have received has given me the opportunity to conduct research in a novel, cutting-edge field that has the potential to contribute to malaria eradication.”

  • Professor Jason Hallett in the lab, wearing a lab coat and handling some equipment

    Jason Hallett, Professor of Sustainable Chemical Technology: “The person behind the gift is often just as or even more valuable than the gift itself, philanthropists’ interest in a project being realised contributes to its success.”

  • Farial Missi smiles at the camera, seated in the Invention Rooms

    Farial Missi, Community Engagement Manager for White City: “I’ve seen first-hand the difference that philanthropy is making in White City. It enables us to build a bridge between Imperial and the people who live here.”

An evening of celebration

The event brought together the newly inaugurated members of the Circle of Benefactors with researchers from across the College.

Professor Faith Osier and President Hugh Brady made speeches thanking donors and reflecting upon the impact philanthropy has on the Imperial community. Professor Anna Vignoles CBE, Director of the Leverhulme Trust, provided a vote of thanks on behalf of the Circle of Benefactors members present.

Professor Osier is the Co-Director of the Institute of Infection and Chair of Immunology and Vaccinology. She spoke about the Institute of Infection’s cross-disciplinary work to understand and treat disease, and her work with her research group to make malaria history.

The incredible generosity of the Circle of Benefactors has profoundly changed life at Imperial and beyond. It is rare that a single day goes by when I don’t meet someone in the College community who has been touched by philanthropy. Professor Hugh Brady President of Imperial College London

Speaking about the impact of philanthropy on Imperial, President Brady said: “The incredible generosity of the Circle of Benefactors has profoundly changed life at Imperial and beyond. It is rare that a single day goes by when I don’t meet someone in the College community who has been touched by philanthropy.

Support from our inspiring group of donors and charity funders fuels research and attracts top academic talent, creates world-class research facilities and supports the next generation of scientists, engineers, medics and business leaders.

From emergency diseases analytics and insights into children’s health to new carbon capture technologies and sustainable aviation, the scientific advances that their donations enable have a global impact that is felt far beyond our campuses.”

In his speech, President Brady acknowledged some of Imperial’s closest supporters who have passed away and recognised their friendship and generosity. Those supporters remembered included Sir Michael Uren, Mrs Lily Safra, Dr Douglas Longden and Bill Anglesea.

President Hugh Brady delivers a speech on a podium in front of the screen in College Main Entrance. To the right is the new donor installation and in the foreground are guests seated at tables
Guests at the launch event heard speeches from President Hugh Brady and Professor Faith Osier, and a vote of thanks from Professor Anna Vignoles CBE.

Inspiring installation

Many universities recognise philanthropy through donor walls and installations on their campuses, highlighting its importance and impact. Imperial’s new donor installation does so in a way that reflects the College’s scientific and technological focus and innovative spirit.

The design comprises roundels of coloured, recycled glass – each bearing the name of a member of the Circle of Benefactors – mounted on a steel framework. The installation was designed by Pentagram, with the glass hand blown by Michael Ruh Studio in London and the steel framework built by Fish Fabrications in Norfolk.

A close up of the donor installation

The installation was inspired by the way philanthropy underpins life at Imperial. Pentagram said: “This work imagines Imperial as a living organism. Beginning with the idea that cells are the building blocks of life, we wanted to explore the way in which individual cells in the organism act together as one, while each preserves its own distinctiveness.

We were struck by how Imperial focuses both on the individual and on the big picture, and the importance of philanthropy in achieving that."

The making of the Circle of Benefactors donor installation.

Find out more about the Circle of Benefactors


Joely Langston

Joely Langston

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Events, Philanthropy, Campus-developments, President, Exhibition-Road
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