NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has made a mega donation of one million pounds (Rs 10 crores) to the University of Wolverhampton...
NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul has made a mega donation of one million pounds (Rs 10 crores) to the University of Wolverhampton, the “single biggest gift” received by the UK’s leading varsity.
The donation for the university from the Ambika Paul Foundation, a charitable trust set up by Paul in memory of his daughter, will go towards general upgrade of facilities at the campus in the West Midlands region of England.
“It is part of my continued connection with the university, which is based in Britain’s industrial heartland. It is a university which takes pride in training students from ordinary backgrounds to create the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs for this country and beyond,” said Paul, who has been Chancellor of the university since 1999.
“The Ambika Paul Foundation has one very specific mission: to enhance the lives of the next generation through education, culture and health. What the University of Wolverhampton stands for and its quest to provide opportunities for young people resonates with me and where I have come from, to where I am today,” said the founder- chairman of Caparo Group, which employs an estimated 2,500 people in the West Midlands region.
Paul will also be leading a delegation from the university to India next week to further strengthen education and business ties between the two countries.
Over the years, he has been instrumental in strengthening the India link of the institution with honorary degrees for leaders such as former President APJ Abdul Kalam, current President Pranab Mukherjee and finance minister Arun Jaitley.
The university, which also has a regional office in India, is investing 50 million pounds over the next two years to redevelop its campuses in Wolverhampton city centre, which will include a new 22 million pounds science facility and a new 18-million pounds Wolverhampton Business School building.
“The BBC has described this university as among the friendliest in the UK and it is also among the most multi- ethnic. This expansion plan will help enhance its role as an innovation hub where new ideas and products can incubate. It has a more hands-on approach, which appeals to me.
“I hope the large Indian-origin population in the region can feel proud of my association with it,” said Paul, who had made a similar donation to the London Zoo in 1994, a place his daughter Ambika loved to visit.
“Remembering our daughter has always been at the heart of the work funded by the Ambika Paul Foundation. This gift is dedicated to her memory; but it is also a way of giving something back to the community, and specifically young people,” he said.
The university has described his donation as the “single biggest gift” it has ever received. Vice-Chancellor Professor Geoff Layer said: “Lord Paul has been a great ambassador for the University in the UK and around the world for a number of years. He is a hugely successful businessman who built his company from next to nothing. He is someone our students can look towards in terms of his entrepreneurial spirit and as someone who seized his opportunity.
“We look forward to utilising this gift to make a real difference to our students and help them get the most out of their time with us.”
Layer will join Paul as part of the delegation, which is also scheduled to meet HRD Minister Smriti Irani.
Paul will be in India on a two-week visit from Sunday, during which he will be addressing business gatherings as well as taking some time out to visit his company’s sites in the country.