UK and Rest of World Campaign Update: Autumn 2018

In September St Hilda’s celebrated its 125th Anniversary, with a special Gaudy dinner.

It was an auspicious evening to reflect on our rich history and to share a bold vision for our future.

In commemoration of our 125th Anniversary, the College has formally launched its first major capital campaign. The purpose of the 125th Anniversary Campaign is simple – to secure St Hilda’s future by ensuring that it remains competitive and appealing, continuing to attract and support the very best students and the most talented Fellows.

The 125th Anniversary Campaign will, as its initial goal, raise funds for a transformational Building Programme for the College, and longer term, provide additional funding for student bursaries, access and scholarships and the endowment of key teaching and research posts to underpin its long commitment to academic excellence and equality.

The Building Programme offers far more than simply “bricks and mortar”. When completed, our three new buildings will enable the College to realise its ambitious plans for the future. Student accommodation is the first priority – to give all undergraduates a College room throughout their time in Oxford, which effectively provides an annual bursary of £1,500. Beyond that, and central to the College’s mission, these cleverly designed buildings will offer space for world-leading teaching, research and academic collaboration to flourish. These will be spaces where Fellows and students can develop as an intellectual community and share their work globally using the latest technology.

The Building Programme will be undertaken in two phases:

Phase 1 will see a complete transformation of the entrance to the College providing two new, carefully designed buildings appropriate to our lovely riverside setting, and a distinctive tower to signal our place in Oxford. With 52 student rooms, along with tutors’ rooms, seminar spaces and social space, the new boundary building will also offer the best views of the Oxford skyline in all seasons. A suite of guest and meeting rooms will provide attractive facilities for College hospitality and meetings. Our riverside pavilion will be a calm and restful meeting place in College for both academic and social activities.

Phase 2, which is in the early stages of development, will provide the balance of the 125 student rooms the College needs, so that all undergraduates will be able to have a College room throughout their time at St Hilda’s. The building will also support the highest levels of interdisciplinary collaboration across the humanities and sciences, with seminar, workshop and lecture facilities. Its location next to the Jacqueline du Pré Music Building allows us to explore a wider vision to develop and share the College’s exceptional work in the performing arts and forge links to research groups across the humanities and sciences.

The brochure in your mailing pack offers the latest images of this major development. It is easy to see the transformative impact that it will have on our successors at St Hilda’s – and on Oxford! The new tower and entrance will contribute their own distinctive shape to the beautiful Oxford skyline.

The cost of the Building Programme is estimated, at this time, to be £35 million which the College plans to fund with:

  • A bond of £20 million, which has already been arranged on very favourable terms.
  • A capital campaign to raise the balance of the funds, estimated at this time to be £15 million, in hand or pledged, by 2021.

As the Chair of the UK Campaign Board, I am delighted to be working with the other members of our Board and the US Campaign Board to help the College to achieve this ambitious vision. We hope, with generous support from our alumnae and friends worldwide, we can reach, indeed exceed, our initial target of £15 million.

To date, the 125th Anniversary Campaign has raised £8.4 million, which puts us over the halfway mark, with £6.6 million yet to raise. Warm thanks to all who have already contributed generously this year; although we have a long way to go, I am confident that with your help we can achieve this target.

In 2019, Campaign Board members and the College will be contacting you to seek your support for the Campaign. I’d like you to review Building the Future: Campaign Update and consider how you might contribute to the 125th Anniversary Campaign. A description of naming opportunities is enclosed with a donation form with details about tax-efficient giving.

My years at St Hilda’s transformed my life and provided me with opportunities I’d never have had otherwise. I know many of you have shared a similar experience. The College has always had an egalitarian and supportive atmosphere and these are valuable aspects of our culture we intend to sustain with these new building developments. And so I urge you to be generous and to consider reaching for what may be a once in a lifetime capital gift. In order to help those of you who are contemplating larger gifts than you might ordinarily consider, we are offering the opportunity to fund your campaign pledge over five years, with the first instalment in 2019 and the last instalment in 2022.

This is St Hilda’s time and it is an auspicious moment – there will not be another time like this for our College in our lifetimes. Nor will there be another opportunity for us to have such a transformational impact on St Hilda’s future. I am passionate about passing on to the next generation the benefits St Hilda’s conferred on me and I hope you share that passion. Now we have the opportunity to show it in a concrete way.

On behalf of the entire Board, thank you for your continued generosity and support.

With all my best,

Val McDermid, UK Campaign Board Chair

Val McDermid © Fraser Rice