The Burgess Legacy at a glance


In awarding Leicester the title of University of the Year 2008/09, the Times Higher judges described Leicester as being elite, without being elitist. Leicester is re-framing the values that govern academia and re-defining what a university needs to be in the 21st century.


A clutch of awards including that of Queen Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education;  Sunday Times University of the Year runner up and Students’ Union of the Year follow earlier awards including University of the Year (08/09). In the past the University has notched up awards for Students’ Union of the Year as well as a hat-trick of nominations for University of the Year from the Times Higher and the Sunday Times.


Staff at the University of Leicester fully embrace change and are willing to adopt new ideas, setting the agenda for higher education.  Leicester is a pioneer of employer engagement with thousands of students studying programmes in the workplace through distance learning. This year our Internship Promise will see new undergraduates being offered an opportunity to engage in internship programmes. The University introduced Foundation Degrees, has become involved in Moocs, established college compacts and has reformed academic and administrative structures in order to streamline decision making processes and encourage greater collaborative thinking and working.

Capital Investment

Having set out a £1 billion Development Framework Plan, Leicester is reshaping its physical assets in order to create high quality, state of the art spaces for staff and students and to encourage interdisciplinary work. Following completion of the David Wilson Library (£32m) opened by HM The Queen, there has been an award-winning transformation of the Percy Gee Building(£17m)  housing the Students’ Union.  Other developments include: Nixon Court (£15m) student residence, College Court (£17m) Executive Education Centre, the Central Research Facility (£16m), the Cardiovascular Research Centre (£10m) and, on site at the moment, the new Centre for Medicine (£42m).


Leicester’s enterprise activity now engages businesses across the industrial sectors and involves the majority of our academic disciplines. From heritage promoting social enterprises  to drug-discovery spinouts, and testing services for the aerospace industry –enterprise is firmly an important part of our agenda. We are now in the top 20 universities in the country in terms of income generated from consultancy, continuing professional development and regeneration, £47m in total last academic year. We have created  a number of innovative spinout and start-up companies in fields as diverse as e – learning, sustainable materials,  wound healing and high resolution imaging which have proven to be attractive investment opportunities to UK and overseas investors and created 100s of employment opportunities.


Research income to the University has multiplied- from £23m in 97/98 to £55m in 12/13.  The University now hosts three biomedical research units, a second NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) and has recently been awarded Cancer Research Centre status by CRUK.  There has been a significant increase in large interdisciplinary projects even where they could not have been anticipated eg History of Art/ Physics.


Music, theatre, arts, public seminars and lectures have celebrated the cultural vitality of the region –the University of Leicester signed a key strategic partnership agreement with the renowned Philharmonia Orchestra bringing the benefits of world-class musical expertise to students. An annual Literary Festival has brought writers and poets to the campus and an international Sculpture Exhibition has been showcasing art from around the world in the stunning setting of the Botanic Garden. Visual art on campus has also been given a higher profile through acquisitions that are on public display.


The University’s annual turnover has increased from £117 million in 1998/99 to £281 million in 20012/13. Over the 15 years of the Vice-Chancellor’s leadership the University has generated total revenue of over £3 billion, surpluses of £65 million and spent £300 million on new building and equipment.


Leicester trailblazed its award-winning commitment to sustainability with a Big Green Week in 2007, inspiring other HEIs to organise similar events. Since then, recycling rates have risen from 3% to over 90% and our highly-commended travel plan helped deliver the largest underground bike store of an HEI in the country and a more efficient, equitable car parking scheme. Sustainability is literally becoming embedded in the Estates’ newest capital project (the Centre for Medicine) with a Passiv Haus low energy, low carbon design including green walls and roofs.

Leicester leads the sector for sustainability-related student engagement and employability with its environmental volunteering scheme that provides academic projects as well as a community focus through projects such as ‘Carbon Footprinting in Schools’. There is also a strong focus on education for sustainability & development (ESD) as a series of multi-disciplinary teaching modules (‘Sustainable Futures’), available to all students, are being developed this year into a MOOC to aid access.

The partnership with the City Council on the district heating network saw the University benefit from £4M investment in a 3.2MW Combined Heat and Power (CHP) scheme which has saved over 2,000 tonnes of carbon in Year 1 alone.


Increased focus on developing the University’s international profile has had a significant impact on the shape and size of the student body on our campus.  In 1999/00, Leicester had 762 full-time overseas students compared with 3,948 in 2012/13. From 1999-00 to 2012-13 the University’s full-time campus-based student population has grown by 62.5%.  Over that period our UK/EU numbers have grown by 27.2%, while our international student numbers have increased at an even greater rate (418%), so that in 2012-13 international students represented 28.8% of our full-time undergraduate and postgraduate population, compared with 9.0% in 1999/00.  International students generated record fee income of £49.838m in 2012/13 (up from £9.939m in 1999/00), 17.7% of the University’s total income, compared with 8.0% in 1999/00.  In regard to the Times Higher’s world university rankings, our score for international outlook places us within the world’s top 50.


New Philanthropic Funds Raised

Misc donations

  • 1999-2002/03 - £132k

Annual Fund Launched:

  • 2003/04 - £112k

Nicholas Corah & The Library Appeal:

  • 2004-2007/8 - £7.1m

Director of Development appointed:

  • 2008-2013/14  - £21.7m

Philanthropic Support for Major Projects

  • 2004-08  David Wilson Library - £5m
  • 2008-10  Students’ Union Building - £163k
  • 2009-10  Centre for Respiratory Science - £0.5m
  • 2010-13  Cardiovascular Research Centre - £5m
  • 2011-12  Exercise &Transplant Research -£1.7m
  • 2011-21  Psychology Research - £0.5m
  • 2012-13  Biomarker Facility - £2.5m
  • 2012-14 Richard Attenborough Centre – New Galleries - £1.4m
  • 2013-16  Centre for Medicine - £1.5m

Principal Benefactors

  • John and Lucille van Geest Foundation
  • British Heart Foundation
  • The Wolfson Foundation
  • Dr David Wilson CBE
  • Sir David Samworth CBE
  • Annual Fund (incl. Alumni, Family Programme and Members of Court)
  • The Edith Murphy Foundation
  • The Scott Waudby Charitable Trust
  • Santander Universities UK
  • The Garfield Weston Foundation
  • Silver Hearts Circle (gifts £20k+)
  • Donations from Principal Benefactors over the past 3 years alone total : £14m

Notable Alumni and Benefactor Events
The Annual Alumni Black tie Dinner at Claridge’s
The Women of Influence Guild
The Summer Reunion & Open day
The Benefactors Reception
The House of Lords Reception
The Heartbeat Ball
The Family Programme Receptions
New York and Toronto Receptions
Alumni Lecture

The THE ‘Most Innovative Fundraising Initiative 2013’
HEIST Awards 2001-13 for exemplary Fundraising and Alumni Marketing
Institute of Fundraising Award for Research Innovation 2013

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