Published: 12 January 2016

Help us shape our future

Leaving a legacy in their will is for many people the single most important philanthropic gift they ever provide. Such a gift will benefit the University long into the future and is a wonderful way of commemorating a life.

Regardless of their size, each and every legacy has a tremendous impact on Surrey life – supporting teaching and learning, helping your department or our students directly, developing the campus and furthering research.

Janet and Mark Preston, who both studied physics in the 1970s, feel passionately about providing opportunities for talented young people to attend University and, in particular, encouraging more women to study science.

Their legacy will provide up to five bursaries for young people who would not otherwise be able to go to University and be used to inspire more young women to take a physics degree.

Janet said: “People might think that a legacy has to involve a phenomenal amount of money but if a number of people leave a little, then it soon becomes a lot. Surrey has helped us have a very good life and, if we can give that back, we will rest very easily.”

Several areas of the University will be further improved thanks to three particular legacies in the past year.  A generous bequest from former lecturer Dr Kathleen Urwin will enhance library facilities for thousands of students.

Dr Urwin, who died aged 89, taught at Battersea Polytechnic from 1961-1966 before joining Surrey in the Department of Maths until her retirement in 1990. She left £50,000 in her will for the development of library services.

Fiona Greig, Head of E-Strategy and Resources, said: “This very generous legacy will make a tremendous impact on our students. Dr Urwin has allowed us to enhance the resources available for all students across all disciplines.

“Without gifts like this it is very hard to build our collections outside of the core ‘reading list’ requirements. This wonderful gesture will allow our students to apply those wider scholarly skills of developing a line of research and show their independent approach to seeking relevant multi-disciplinary information resources.”

A long-time donor to the University, Professor John Smith, who died in 2015, will continue to support chemical engineering students through his legacy.

Professor Smith joined Surrey in 1986, and worked in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering until his retirement from his full-time post in 1996, although he taught part-time until 2007. He had a passion for his subject and was a strong believer in cross-disciplinary working.

When asked about his support for the University a year before he died, Professor Smith said: “I worked here for a long time and like the people. It’s worth supporting a university like Surrey which has a good dynamic.”

The aims of the University’s Annual Fund to improve the student experience were ones that nutrition alumna Dr Veronica Kilgour fully supported. Not only did she donate to the Fund during her life-time but she has also left a legacy to it, following her death in April 2014, aged 97.

Veronica graduated in 1972 as a mature student and it was her wish to continue her support for facilities and projects that benefit the student community through her bequest.

If you would like to discuss a legacy gift, please contact Kate Redrup, Legacy Manager, at or call +44 (0)1483 689264.

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