The ideas of our students have changed the world. Edmond Halley (1673) pioneered the understanding of the proper motion of fixed stars; he also financed the publication of Newton’s Principia. Jeremy Bentham (1760) developed one of the most significant and influential versions of utilitarianism. Our former Provost, Lord (Howard) Florey (1962-8), shared responsibility for the first extraction and small-scale manufacture of penicillin, on which rests the modern history of antibacterial medicine and the saving of millions of lives. More recently, Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee OM (1973) invented the implementation of hypertext known as the world-wide web, which has revolutionised business and pleasure all over the world.
A College proud to be different
Queen’s was concerned about ‘access’ to higher education some 650 years before it became a widespread anxiety. We were founded to enable bright young students, from modest backgrounds, to experience a first-class education. The College’s founder, Robert de Eglesfield, required that preference should be given to scholars from Cumberland and Westmorland, on account of the impoverishment of these regions. Subsequent benefactions – particularly that of Lady Elizabeth Hastings – reinforced that ethos, making it an institution that served parts of Britain that were typically very under-represented in the great universities.
We have listened to your views
We know how much our Old Members value the College’s robust tradition of independence. We agree with many of you that the College can no longer rely on public income. And we also believe, as many of you do, that we should continue to compete with the best institutions in the world. To achieve this aim, we need your support.
The challenge we face
The principal backdrop to our fund-raising is the attrition of public funding. The result of this is that the College makes a significant loss on its undergraduate teaching, whilst being constrained by legislation from charging the full cost of providing that education. We have taken significant steps to secure our future, through a combination of internal cost-cutting, the expansion of our conference and catering business, and taking professional advice on the management of our endowment assets (which have achieved excellent returns).