Written by Abigail Smith, UCL Head of Supporter Communications
Society will be short-changed if we view universities as about human resources rather than humanity, according to investor and philanthropist Dr Gerald Chan in a keynote speech at UCL.
Speaking at an event for UCL supporters and academics to celebrate the impact of UCL research and to examine the role of philanthropy in the rapidly changing higher education environment, Dr Chan declared: “This is not just a budgetary struggle, it is a struggle for the very soul of the university.”
The independence of universities is crucial in order to maintain the balance between their role, both as engines of the economy and places of curiosity-driven research, he added, and a philanthropic “public-private partnership” is vital to that.
“Higher education is not cheap; what is more expensive to society are the consequences of not supporting its universities,” he said. “In a democratic society, governments come and go, and government funding priorities come and go, but a properly managed endowment endures.”