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150th Anniversary Campaign

Launched in 2008, Fitzwilliam’s 150th Anniversary Campaign aimed to raise £20 million by 2019. Thanks to the generosity of over 2000 donors we have exceeded our target, and have so far raised £23.5 million. The Campaign concludes on 31 July, 2019. 

The Campaign’s objectives:

  • to ensure that every student admitted can take up their place regardless of their financial means
  • to provide the best possible resources for study, teaching, learning and research
  • to expand and enrich the collegiate experience

The Campaign has already helped to fund the building of the stunning Olisa Library, the creation of the Upper Hall and the refurbishment of the gym. Most recently, it has funded the renovation of three staircases of student accommodation and work to repair and improve the Central Building's iconic lantern roof, in addition to leading to a big injection of money into funds which support students.

Read more about the Campaign’s progress and find out how you can make a real difference to the next generation of Fitzwilliam students by clicking on the sections below.

Fitzwilliam is committed to encouraging students from all backgrounds to apply to Cambridge, and to supporting them when they are here.

The generosity of alumni has allowed us to expand our programmes of support, so that no potential applicant need be deterred from applying to Fitzwilliam.

Dr Paul Chirico, Senior Tutor

Meeting the costs associated with a university education can be a real challenge. With your help, we will ensure that our students can afford to take full advantage of the academic and extra-curricular opportunities available to them at Cambridge. 

Student Opportunities Fund

The Student Opportunities Fund is one of the College’s most important means of supporting our students. From maintenance bursaries and vacation rent rebates to awards for travel, research and charitable work, this versatile fund provides grants to students when and where needed. Donations are generally spent within a year of receipt.

Named Maintenance Fund

Some alumni prefer to make larger donations in order to set up named maintenance bursary funds. These funds may be endowed, providing student support in perpetuity, or expendable. Expendable funds run for a number of years until the donation is exhausted.

To find out more about setting up a new fund, or to make a donation to the Student Opportunities Fund, please contact the Development Office.

Fitzwilliam is committed to small-group teaching, the hallmark of our collegiate tradition.

In 2012-13, our 466 undergraduates received over 20,000 hours of small-group teaching from 932 supervisors.

College teaching lies at the heart of the Cambridge learning experience, but is costly.  Although student fees have increased considerably, this has been more than offset by cuts in the University’s teaching grant from the Government.  A Cambridge education actually costs around double the £9,000 fee, and the supervision system is a key factor in this.  Despite the expense, we believe that small-group teaching represents value for money, being one of the most effective means of stimulating our students and preparing them for Tripos.

Teaching Fund

Established in 2012, the Teaching Fund supports the College’s load, ensuring that our students continue to receive supervisions led by world-leading academics, and protecting the best that Cambridge, and Fitzwilliam, has to offer.

Donations to the Fund are expended within a year or two of receipt, so our undergraduates benefit immediately from the support of donors.

Larger gifts may be directed, if donors wish, towards specific posts, and the College particularly welcomes donations to the following:

Law Teaching Fund

Find out how you can help Fitzwilliam build an endowed Law Teaching Fund of £1 million. 

Your contribution will help ensure that Fitzwilliam remains one of the top performing colleges for Law in Cambridge, offering opportunities to students from all backgrounds.

R.N. Walters English Fund

This fund was established in memory of Norman Walters, Admissions Tutor and Director of Studies in English at Fitzwilliam House in the 1950s.  The Fund provides much-needed support for a College Teaching Fellowship in English. The College aims to raise £1 million to complete the Fund, and we are almost half way to achieving that target.

For more information about how you can support teaching at Fitzwilliam, or to make a donation, please contact the Development Office.

Alumni generosity helps Fitzwilliam promote intellectual excellence.

As a constituent part of one of the World's top universities, Fitzwilliam seeks to challenge and support students in their learning and research, and to recognise their achievements.

Prizes and Scholarships

The promotion of academic excellence through prizes and scholarships helps raise aspirations across the board, as well as recognise the success of individuals. As the number of Firsts continues to grow, so too does the College's need for named awards. £5000 establishes a new endowed prize or scholarship.

Subject Funds

The College is grateful for contributions to endowed funds in particular subjects.  Donations to these funds help to underpin the intellectual life of the College, enabling Directors of Studies to support student learning in innovative, subject-specific ways.

For more information about how you can support the academic life of Fitzwilliam through our subject funds, or if you would like to discuss endowing a prize or scholarship, please contact the Development Office.

Our graduate students enrich the intellectual life of the College, while playing an essential part in maintaining Cambridge's reputation as one of the World's leading research institutions.

In 2012-13, Fitzwilliam had 299 graduates, 40% of total student numbers.

Graduate support is an essential part of our fundraising goals. Government-backed student loans are only available to undergraduates, and there has been a sharp fall in funding from foundations and research councils, placing a considerable financial burden on those who wish to pursue graduate courses.

The Fitzwilliam Graduate Fund was established in 2013, with the aim of offering graduates a better financial package.  By contributing to this fund, you will help the College to attract the most talented individuals and to offer them adequate support when they are here.

To find out more about how you can support our graduates, or to make a donation, please contact the Development Office.

Fitzwilliam has a proud history of encouraging applications from all students who show academic potential, regardless of social or educational background.

This ethos remains central to our admissions policy and is demonstrated in our commitment to linking up with schools without a history of sending students to Cambridge, but which aspire to do so. Financial support from alumni enables the College to work with partners, such as the Sutton Trust, as well as to develop our own initiatives.

Access Fund

Established in 2012 and kick-started with a generous donation from Sir Peter Bazalgette (1973) the Access Fund supports the College's admissions initiatives.

Schools Liaison Officer

In 2011, Fitzwilliam gained its first Schools Liaison Officer, thanks to the support of Dick Tyler (1978) and Andrew Wilson (1978). Find out more here.

In July 2013, the naming of The Olisa Library by the Chancellor, Lord Sainsbury, marked the completion of the first phase of the 150th Anniversary Campaign. The next phase is focussing on the urgent transformation of our original Lasdun buildings, which are now fifty years old and in need of extensive updating.

The Central Building

Work is already underway to transform the Central Building into an exciting place fit for its purpose at the heart of College life. An extension at the rear of the Old Library, designed by Cullinan Studio, architects of The Olisa Library, opened in 2014.

Thanks to the generous support of Doug and Rachael Webb (both 1979), Paul Forster (1983) and a bequest from Vivian Povah (1951), the College was able to bring forward work on the Upper Hall (formerly the Old Library). As well as being more attractive and more carbon-efficient, the Upper Hall has become a multi-purpose space for meeting, dining and performing. We turn now to the renovation of the remaining rooms on the upper floor and the creation of a gallery.


Fitzwilliam's original accommodation has scarcely changed since the 1960s, and its 50-year-old windows, roofs, plumbing and electrics need urgent attention. With your help, Fitzwilliam aims to provide some of the most attractive accommodation in Cambridge.

Substantial sums are needed to fund the transformation of our Lasdun Buildings. To find out more about the projects, see Fitzwilliam's Vision for the Future (PDF/Issuu). To make a donation, please contact the Development Office.

Sport at Fitzwilliam is thriving, with several of the College's sporting teams and individuals amongst the best in the University.

Sports Support Fund

In 2012, the College established the Sports Support Fund with an initial donation from Robert Rigg (1988). This enables talented Fitzwilliam students to make the most of sporting opportunities by helping to cover the costs of kit, coaching, tours and travel.

The John Adams Fund

In 2012, the Billygoats Society unveiled The John Adams Fund, to honour their retiring secretary, John Adams (1958), for his 50 years of service.

Prizes from the Fund are made to one or more student members of the Boat Club deemed to have done the most to promote the wellbeing and success of the Boat Club in that year. There are also John Adams Bursaries to help students with rowing-related costs.

Find out how you can help the next generation of Fitzwilliam sporting talent by contacting the Development Office.

Our students have access to performance spaces for music and drama that few colleges can boast.

Fitzwilliam's Chapel and Auditorium are excellent facilities, popular with students and professional performers alike.

The Chapel is the spiritual heart of Fitzwilliam, and the Chaplain a significant figure in the pastoral and religious life of our Members.

The College welcomes donations to the Chaplaincy Fund. For more information on the Fund, or to make a donation, please contact the Development Office.

The new Library & IT Centre was officially opened in April 2010 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

The building has provided 100% more reader spaces, 50% more computer spaces and 60,000 volumes on open access.

Designed by Edward Cullinan, RIBA Gold Medal Winner in 2008, the new library extends the 1959 Denys Lasdun College masterplan and has created a place for study that reflects the peaceful landscape and respects and enhances the adjacent architecture. 

Key features
  • The stair-tower takes readers between the library floors, and provides study alcoves at half-landing levels which reveal views over the College. It culminates in the 'nest' level where readers can enjoy even wider views across Cambridge.
  • There are two flexible study spaces, with projection facilities, which can accommodate groups of up to 25. The south tower has attractive semi-circular spaces on two floors suitable for small-group study.
  • Some study spaces are allocated as permanent computer workstations and laptop use is possible throughout the library - wired and wireless network connections provide flexibility now and for the future.
Environmental impact
  • The building has been designed to exceed the latest building-regulation requirements for energy consumption and insulation levels.
  • Large north-facing windows and louvre screens maximise natural daylight while minimising solar gain.
  • The ventilation strategy and the passive environmental design both minimise the building's environmental impact - reader comfort is achieved using a fresh-air heating system with low energy consumption, to satisfy environmental requirements.

If you'd like more details, please contact the Development Office.

Over 2000 Members have contributed so far to the success of the 150th Anniversary Campaign.

1869 Fellow Benefactors (total donations of £1,000,000 or over)

Fitzwilliam College is proud to bestow 1869 Fellow Benefactor status on any person who has shown exceptional munificence towards the College and is so called by virtue of the date of Fitzwilliam's original foundation. 1869 Fellow Benefactors may also become Companions of the Guild of Cambridge Benefactors. They are invited to all major College events and are members of the SCR and High Table.

The College currently has three Fellow Benefactors, Peter Selman (1991), Ken Olisa OBE (1971) and Xiaoyang Xie (2006).

Benefactors (total donations of £100,000 or over)

Fitzwilliam College celebrates the Commemoration of Benefactors at the Chapel Service and Dinner held annually in April, to which benefactors - in their distinctive gowns - are invited.  An honours board in the Gatehouse recognises Fitzwilliam's major supporters in chronological order (unless they wish to remain anonymous).

The Master's Circle (total donations of £20,000 or over)

The Master's Circle recognises those who have made significant contributions to the College. Its members are invited to a special lunch, hosted by the Master, at the Reunion Weekend in September.

The 1869 Foundation

The 1869 Foundation was established in 2001 to recognise individuals who have included the College in their Will, and they and their spouses or partners are invited to an annual lunch at the College hosted by the Master.

The Foundation Circle

Created to mark the College’s 150th Anniversary in 2019, the Foundation Circle recognises donors who have given £1,500 or more in a financial year. Members will be invited to a special event to see first-hand the impact of their donation, along with a celebratory garden party in June 2019. They will also be listed in and receive our annual Donor Report. 

Created to mark the College’s 150th Anniversary in 2019, the Foundation Circle recognises donors who have given £1,500 or more in a financial year. Members will be invited to a special event to see first-hand the impact of their donation, along with a celebratory garden party in June 2019. They will also be listed in and receive our annual Donor Report. 

What is the Foundation Circle?

2019 marks Fitzwilliam’s 150th year, and to celebrate this special anniversary a new donor group has been created to recognise donors who have given £1,500 or more in a financial year. Gifts at this level are the solid foundation of all Fitzwilliam’s activities: they support students experiencing hardship, they fund our outreach activities, they support the supervision system and they underpin our continued investment in the fabric of the College.

Although major donations may offer transformative moments in the College’s history, it is the wider community of donors who collectively have the power to sustain continued growth. Through creating this Circle, during the anniversary of our foundation year, we both recognise the enormous value of this type of gift, and hope to inspire donors to become more involved in our work here at Fitz.

Do I have to support a particular area?

Donors are invited to give to the Fitzwilliam project they feel most passionate about, but the College seeks to offer guidance on the areas of greatest need.

This year, as Fitzwilliam looks back to its founding principles, we are focusing our attention on supporting students with the significant financial costs of undertaking a degree. 

The Bursary Fund awards Fitzwilliam bursaries to undergraduate and postgraduate students in financial need. Around 30% of Fitzwilliam students now receive hardship bursaries, and the Fund was created in response to the increasingly uncertain future faced by today’s students, with rising tuition fees and maintenance loans meaning that most will take on substantial debts to fund their university education. The fund is expendable and gifts are dispersed in the year they are received, making an immediate impact on students.  

Other projects donors can give to include:

  • Widening Participation and Access
  • Teaching and Research
  • Building for the future
  • Fitzwilliam Experience

For more information or to make a donation, please contact the Development Office

How do I make my donation?

You can donate online or download a gift form and return it to the Development Office along with your means of payment. Alternatively, you can contact the Development Office to donate over the phone by credit or debit card, or make a bank transfer.

Do I have to donate £1,500 in one lump sum?

No, the Foundation Circle recognises donors who have given £1,500 or more in the space of a financial year, so you can make your donation in the form of one gift or multiple gifts. A monthly donation of £100 plus Gift Aid would qualify a donor to become a member of the group, as would a quarterly donation of £300 plus Gift Aid. You can set up a regular donation online

Do I have to give every year?

No, the Foundation Circle recognises donors who have made a significant contribution to the College in one particular year. However, you will be recognised for every year in which you donate £1,500 or more, and because supporting our students is an ongoing priority here at Fitzwilliam, we are particularly grateful to donors who make a regular commitment. 

Will Gift Aid count?

Yes! Foundation Circle gifts are recognised gross, including Gift Aid. So, providing you are a UK taxpayer, your gift of £1,200 in one year (or £100 per month/£300 per quarter) will result in £1,500 for Fitzwilliam once Gift Aid is added. If you pay Income Tax at the higher or additional rate you can claim additional tax relief through your tax return, further reducing the cost to you while retaining the full benefit for Fitzwilliam. 

What benefits will I receive?

The benefits of membership are designed to connect you more closely to our work. You will receive an annual Donor Report and an invitation to a special event to see first-hand the impact of your generosity. You will also be invited to a celebratory garden party in June 2019, and will be listed in a special section of the Donor Report (subject to your approval).