University of Exeter Campaign reaches £60 million in donations

The University of Exeter’s fundraising campaign, ‘Making the Exceptional Happen’ has reached its target of £60 million with nearly a year still to go.

Reaching this milestone early has been possible thanks to record growth in donor numbers over the past five years. In 2018/19 alone more than 2,800 alumni and supporters made a financial donation. Philanthropy will always be a key contributor to the university’s success and ‘Making the Exceptional Happen’ has had a great impact already.

Dr Shaun Curtis, Director of Global Advancement at the University of Exeter said: “We are incredibly grateful to all our alumni and supporters who have got behind our Campaign. Their generosity has already made a massive difference to both researchers and students here at Exeter. With their ongoing support Exeter will continue to transform lives into the future.”

£1m donation for project to examine the price of birdsong

Vietnamese investment firm Dragon Capital and the University of Exeter have together committed £1.6m over the next five years, for a newly appointed Professor to take the role of “Dragon Capital Chair in Biodiversity Economics”.

Dominic Scriven (Sociology and Law, 1985, pictured right), Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Dragon Capital, said: “How can markets price the absence of birdsong? How much are people willing to pay to maintain the existence of, or be compensated for the loss of, biodiversity in all its forms? It has never been more important for businesses and individuals to understand the impact they are making on society to ensure the conservation of our planet.”

Lord Myners, Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: “Our combined investment will concentrate resource into an important area where economics meets ecology. The Dragon Capital Chair will encourage market behaviours that foster the preservation

of the natural environment.”

Alumni volunteering exceeds 142% of goal

University of Exeter alumni have donated 85,000 hours to the institution’s ‘Making the Exceptional Happen’ Campaign since it began in 2012.

The Campaign originally aimed to achieve 60,000 volunteering hours by 2020, however the commitment and generosity of the alumni community meant that was reached nearly two years early in February 2018. A new target of 90,000 hours has now been set following the milestone achievement.

85,000 hours equates to a graduate volunteering for Exeter every hour of every day since the Campaign began. It means tens of thousands of students have benefitted from careers talks, more than 2,000 have received mentoring partnerships lasting between 6 and 12 months, and another 1,500+ student career questions have been answered by email, resulting in the highest percentage of alumni being in graduate level jobs six months after graduation. It also includes 2,500 working days of strategic advice given to university staff.

2019 Volunteers of the Year named!

Staff, students and fellow alumni all came forward to nominate alumni volunteers involved in an array of projects both in the UK and internationally. The winners for 2019 are:


Natasha Bellinger (LLB Law, 2011) for her long standing and committed support for law students at Exeter. Natasha began volunteering her time as soon as she graduated. Her encouragement of future law students through Exeter’s Pathways to Law programme, and support of current law students through a range of employability activities, impressed the judges.


Archit Garg (MSc International Management, 2014) thanks to his enthusiastic and committed support of both the MSc International Management cohort across the world and the wider alumni community in India. Nominated for the second year running, the judges were impressed by the number of fellow alumni who got in touch to nominate Archit and their supporting testimonials.

Alumni fund research into mitigating impacts of sport and leisure in the marine environment

Scientists know that light, litter and noise are all major stressors on marine life but we don’t yet have a full understanding of their combined and comparative effects on the environment.

This is set to change thanks to two Exeter alumni. Theresa (Spanish, 1983) and Mike Laflin (Economics and Geography, 1981), have funded the ‘T&M Laflin Global Sports PhD Studentship’ which aims to enhance our knowledge of the combined effects of these stressors.

The research will gather data from sporting events in or on the water, as well as leisure boating, tourism and beach activities. Using both lab and field studies, the project will look at the impact of these activities on the environment and attempt to create best practice guidance across aquatic sports events and beyond.