Jeremy Bentham asks for donations and offers his head in return

9 November 2012

The changing funding climate for UK universities has prompted Jeremy Bentham, UCL’s spiritual founder, to finally break his 180-year silence.

Jeremy Bentham head and body image

UCL alumni and friends across the world have received letters in which the great philosopher, whose auto-icon sits in the South Cloisters and was recently brought out for cleaning, answers the question: “What would Jeremy do?” in this time of financial need.

His response is “I would get out of this cabinet and do something about it!” Unfortunately, time’s passage has lessened his ability to effect change, so instead he is asking alumni and friends to make a £100 commitment “to help UCL continue to inspire radical thinking.”

Friends and alumni have also received a paper lantern reproduction of the great man’s head, inspired by the King’s students who stole it in 1975 and as what he calls a “ransom in reverse”.

The response to Bentham’s letter has been excellent and further proof, if any was needed, of both his genius and ability to inspire. Responses on UCL Alumni social networks have flooded in, with many users proudly posting photographs of their new lanterns on Facebook and Twitter, including one ingenious alumnus who used it in lieu of a Halloween pumpkin.

Most importantly, it has encouraged people to donate to help fund the vital scholarships and research that make UCL so special, with one alumnus writing: “I just made a gift to UCL – entirely due to the single best piece of marketing I’ve seen this year.”

For more information about the Jeremy Bentham campaign, and to see his letter in full, click here.

Image: Jeremy Bentham holding one of the paper lanterns sent to alumni and friends


Related links:

Discover more about Jeremy Bentham
See some of the responses to the campaign for alumni and friends