Middle Eastern tycoon joins list of Oxford and Cambridge benefactors

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The Independent Online
The Middle Eastern businessman Wafic Said's funding of an Oxford business school was endorsed yesterday by a council of Oxford dons. Mr Said's revised plans for the pounds 40m Wafic Rida Said Business School - his pounds 20m donation is the biggest given to Oxford since the Second World War - was approved by 342 dons and only 55 voted against it.

Other recent tycoon benefactors include:

Rupert Murdoch

Jean Aitchison, on her appointment as the Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication in 1994, said she would use it to "leap the gap between literature and language". The chair, based at Worcester College Oxford, was named after the press magnate who gave pounds 3m towards it.

Hans Rausing

Hans Rausing, Swedish-born TetraPak King, made his money by inventing new kinds of milk and fruit juice cartons, and then moved to Britain to avoid Swedish taxes. He poured pounds 2.5m into a new mathematics centre for Cambridge. Mr Rausing, 72, is Britain's second richest man. He supposedly gave the money after developing an interest in cosmology and in Professor Stephen Hawking's work.

Charles Corfield

A British businessman based in California, Mr Corfield pledged pounds 1m to Oxford last September. Aged 35, he had graduated just 14 years before. He abandoned a doctorate in the United States to produce software; his most successful product, FrameMaker, became a market leader in technical publishing, and last year the company he founded a decade ago was sold for $500m (pounds 312m). The money he gave to Cambridge went into a Centre for Mathematical Studies. The first stage of the pounds 25m centre will open in 2000.

WK Kellogg

In perhaps the most bizarre of all name changes, in 1990 an Oxford college decided to take the name of the inventor of Corn Flakes, WK Kellogg. Rewley House, which takes mature and part-time students, became Kellogg College after the Kellogg Foundation gave it around pounds 9m in 10 years.

Sir Philip Harris

In 1994, Manchester College, Oxford, renamed itself after the founder of a carpet business whose son, Sir Philip Harris, gave it pounds 3.6m. Sir Philip, a leading Tory party fundraiser, threatened to withdraw his donation, which the college needs to gain full university status, when there was opposition to the title "Manchester Academy and Harris College", but the change went ahead, with only 9 out of 200 dons voting against it.

Sir Patrick Sheehy and BAT

Cambridge, after fierce opposition from cancer research groups and its own academics and undergraduates, eventually accepted pounds 1.6m to name a chair after the former chairman of the tobacco giant BAT, Sir Patrick Sheehy. BAT is a big donator to charities - it gave pounds 147,000 to medical research in Newcastle last summer. Despite qualms, Cambridge took the money, creating the Sir Patrick Sheehy Professorship of International Relations on the way. BAT defended itself, while acknowledging that smoking "was a risk factor for certain diseases".

Sir John Moores

The biggest recipient outside Oxbridge was John Moores University in the late Eighties. Liverpool Polytechnic changed name and status after a donation from the Littlewoods Pools millionaire, who died in 1993. The university said it was proud of the name which underlined its commitment to Liverpool whilst paying tribute to a businessman and benefactor of projects in the city. It hoped to double the number of students to nearly 30,000 by the end of the Nineties.

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