De Montfort University Fund

Leicester, UK

The Shanta Foundation made a £1m donation to De Montfort University (DMU) to provide a series of bursaries for financially disadvantaged students and pay for state of the art, specialist equipment for the University’s Pharmacy department.

The Vijay Patel Building is part of DMU’s Campus Transformation Project; is a state-of-the-art building comprising of the Arts Tower development, the Design Wing and the Food Court. It is the centrepiece of the Campus Transformation Project which provide DMU with one of the finest campuses in the country.

The Vijay Patel Building offers sector-leading facilities to DMU’s students, making it an unrivalled environment in which students can create and express themselves. The Arts Tower accommodates the new Leicester School of Art which, together with the Design Wing, covers the full spectrum of visual arts, design and architecture. There is a new cutting-edge Digital Arts floor, an experimental space for new developments in visual culture, along with the excellent and much expanded facilities for traditional objective drawing, making it an unrivalled environment in which students can create and express themselves. In addition, the centre will have new exhibition facilities, giving an inspiring space in which to display both student and external artwork. One of the main advantages of the new centre is that it brings all of the art and design subjects, as well as their workshops, under one roof. The building also houses printmaking, casting and photographic facilities, as well as workshops traditionally associated with the design disciplines such as glass, ceramics and rapid prototyping. In addition, the centre hosts “The Gallery” the largest space of its kind in Leicester, displaying student, staff and external artwork.

Dr Vijay Patel & Mrs Smita Patel said that they wanted to use their wealth to help students in financial need achieve their dreams at the alma mater which helped launch their careers. 

Dr Patel elaborated: 

“It was at De Montfort University where I learned many of the skills which have helped define my career. Not only academic skills but confidence and ambition, the feeling that I could go into the world and make the future I wanted for myself. Education and the university experience is the bedrock for what we have achieved and we want to be able to help make sure as many people as possible have the chance to experience this.”

Mrs Patel continued: 

“As a family we have always believed that education is a gift for life, empowering a person to follow their dreams. Every individual, rich or poor, has aspirations to better themselves and there is no better way than education to help us fulfil our dreams. Our donation has been made so that we can give something back to the institution that helped pave the way to where we are now. We hope it helps many more students in the future.”

In recognition of this donation, the biggest single donation by individuals in the University’s history, De Montfort University have named their new faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities building after Dr Patel and a newly refurbished laboratory in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences will be named after Mrs Patel. 

Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of De Montfort University, said: 

“It is an honour for us to accept this generous donation from Dr & Mrs Patel, a gift from which we and so many of our students, present and future, will gratefully benefit. Dr Patel’s success is an inspiration to us all and at the base of it is a strong foundation forged while studying here at DMU. It is a tribute to him, to our university and to the power and importance of education.”

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