You shouldn’t need a first in maths from Oxford to figure out that your ancient, inadequately subsidised alma mater urgently requires the support of private donors — and that your money is as good as (almost) anyone’s, says Josh Spero. It started with the Led Zeppelin concert.’ Unlikelier sentences have been spoken, but probably not in Oxford. Professor Nick Rawlins is sitting in his office overlooking Wellington Square talking about the recently announced £26 million gift to the university by Mica Ertegun, the widow of Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records founder and promoter of the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and the Zep. The money will endow 35 scholarships for humanities graduates at a time when the sciences, seen as more practical or valuable, receive more philanthropic funding. £1 million from the concert at the O2 was donated to Oxford by the band and ‘that got Mica Ertegun thinking she’d like to come to Oxford. She came to Oxford and she fell in love, not just with the buildings but with the people.’ It must be rare for donors to walk through the door. ‘There are several days when no multimillionaire comes to ask me if they can help,’ he laughs.
- Published in Academicians