Future generations of students are set to benefit from a £1 million gift from University of Bristol alumnus, Indian-origin Dr Bhikhu Patel (BA Hons Architecture 1973) and his wife Shashi.
This incredibly generous gift will be essential to the creation of the University of Bristol’s transformational new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC).
The new campus will revolutionise teaching and learning at Bristol. Business education will be co-located with world-class science and engineering research and development. There will be a focus on digital innovation at scale, and provision to increase the skills pipeline to support the burgeoning digital economy.
Education will be challenge-based and enterprise focussed with students working alongside key industry partners to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.
Professor Hugh Brady, Vice-Chancellor and President said, “I am absolutely delighted that Bhikhu Patel and his family have shown such a high level of confidence and support in our bold ambitions for the future of our university and our city.
“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.”
Bhikhu graduated from Bristol in 1973 with a degree in architecture. After leaving Bristol he 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. In 2001, they were jointly voted Ernst and Young’s ‘UK Entrepreneur of the Year’ having already won numerous accolades from various top organisations and institutions including ‘Europe’s Top 500 fastest growing companies’.
“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,” said Bhikhu. “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.
“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. “Bristol’s new campus will attract the best and brightest from around the world. It 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.”As well as supporting the new campus, the Patels are also providing support to students most in financial need.
Through scholarships and bursaries, the Bhikhu and Shashikala Patel Student Support Fund will give much-needed support to students, both international and from the UK, to help them during their time at Bristol. “I am so grateful for everything education has given me in life. I want others to benefit in the same way – helping the next generation to become entrepreneurs and innovators of the future,” added Bhikhu.
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.”