UCL News


UCL unveils new Donor Wall as fundraising campaign hits £525m

24 May 2019

UCL’s It’s All Academic fundraising campaign has broken through the £500m milestone one year ahead of schedule by achieving £525m in philanthropic donations.

Donor wall

Launched in September 2016, It’s All Academic aims to raise £600m for impactful research, expanded student support and ambitious capital projects at UCL.

To celebrate the far-reaching effect of major philanthropy, UCL has unveiled a new Donor Wall at the heart of its Bloomsbury campus.

The art installation, created by Slade School of Fine Art graduate Dr Sarah Fortais, features aluminium and bronze cast hands of around 60 of UCL’s most generous donors who have given £1 million or more.

Individuals and institutions featured on the Donor Wall include:

  • Alumna Cathy Lee and her husband Martin Lee, who have donated £3m towards the creation of UCL’s major new neuroscience building that will house UCL’s Queen Square Institute of Neurology and the Hub and Headquarters of the UK Dementia Research Institute
  • Lead AI company DeepMind, which is supporting a Professorship of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence plus a range of scholarships that address underrepresentation in the field
  • Alumnus Stephen Rubin, who funds the Pentland-Churchill Scholarship for students from low or middle-income countries to study on a global Masters programme designed to nurture the public service leaders of the future
  • Investment management company Baillie Gifford who is funding UCL’s Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose, led by renowned economist Professor Mariana Mazzucato, to spearhead a mission-led approach to tackling urgent societal challenges
  • Members of the UCL Dementia Retail Coalition, inspired by Iceland Food’s Founder and Executive Chairman Sir Malcolm Walker CBE, which has seen a coalition of nine UK retailers raise £20m for dementia research through the plastic bag levy and other activities

Professor Michael Arthur, UCL President & Provost, said: “UCL’s new Donor Wall is a celebration at the heart of our campus of the power of philanthropy and the vision of those who give. It is thanks to this transformational philanthropy that some of UCL’s most impactful work is now directly benefiting lives around the world. I am delighted that we are building recognition of our generous donors into the fabric of UCL.”

Dr Sarah Fortais, the artist and Slade School of Art alumni who designed the Wall, said: “When designing the Donor Wall, I became specifically interested in the physical, emotive presence of cast hands, since gesturing hands seemed to capture my core experiences as a student, staff member, and volunteer of UCL - of supporting, welcoming and teaching. Ultimately, the design intends to make our benefactors visible on campus in a way that emphasises the sense of community and opportunities that their involvement facilitates.”



  • Unveiling the Donor Wall: (left to right) Angharad Milenkovic, Director of Development; alumnus and donor George Farha; artist Dr Sarah Fortais; UCL President & Provost, Professor Michael Arthur; UCL Vice-Provost (International) Dr Dame Nicola Brewer. Credit: John Moloney