British Indian businessman helps fund Bristol University's new campus
One of Britain's leading Indian-origin businessmen, who features regularly on the country's annual rich list, has contributed one million pounds to the University of Bristol for a new campus it is building. Bhikhu Patel, himself an architecture graduate from the university, and his wife Shashi, contributed the funds recently towards the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC), which the university said is set to revolutionise teaching and learning
"I fell in love with Bristol the university and city. I couldn't have achieved what I have in my business and personal life without my degree. I've always followed the university and been very proud of its research and teaching successes," said Patel, who graduated from Bristol University in 1973.
"Education is very important to me. I came to the UK from Kenya with virtually nothing and was the beneficiary of a first-class education," he said. After leaving the university, Patel followed a career as an architect before taking on a couple of small businesses with his wife. In the early 1980s, he joined forces with his brother Vijay to work in the pharmaceutical industry and went on to co-found the successful Waymade pharmaceutical group.
Patel said, "My father died when I was young, and my mother set up her own business whilst also caring for her family. I learnt self-reliance at a very early age from her as well as a strong belief in philanthropic giving and helping others who are less well off".
"I have supported charities overseas in India and Kenya, but I wanted to give something back to Bristol. The new campus will put the university and Bristol on the global map and will bring tremendous benefits to the city and society as a whole," he said. He said the university's new campus will attract the best and brightest from around the world and will be a very stimulating teaching environment, combining the classroom with business and industry.
"Entrepreneurship is in my blood and so many modern institutions don't cater for this. TQEC will answer this in a very exciting way. The new campus will also be accessible to the wider communities of Bristol inviting them to be part of university life," he added. As well as supporting the new campus, the Patels are also providing support to students most in financial need.
Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President, described the Patels' "tremendous generosity" as "essential" to the new campus where business education will be co-located with world-class science and engineering research and development.
"We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build on our history as one of the world's great civic universities through the transformation of a key site at the heart of our city. Our new campus will be a beacon of collaboration, innovation and opportunity," Brady said.
"It will turn a neglected area into a new destination; an open, green, inclusive centre for transformative innovation. It will be relevant to international, national and local communities. It will inspire and connect local people, social enterprises, businesses, academics and students. It will create jobs and celebrate Bristol culture," he said.
Steve O'Connor, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, said, "Bhikhu and Shashi's belief in higher education and tremendous support for the university will be instrumental in realising our vision for the new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus as a beacon of digital innovation and enterprise".
"We greatly value the expertise, involvement and philanthropic support of all our alumni and friends which is helping to power our researchers, our academy, our students and our contribution to this great city and worldwide."