News - April 4, 2011

Millions donated to Wageningen University

An anonymous benefactor has donated 3.2 million euros to Wageningen University, to be used for malaria research in Africa. It is the largest private donation in the institution’s history.

 'Got the biggest private donation in our history', tweeted board chairman Aalt Dijkhuizen on Friday. '3.2m euros. To be spent on our malaria research in Africa. Dear donor, thank you so much!!'

'And that is as much as we know about it', says a university spokesman. 'And it is not a legacy.' Quite how much money Wageningen University gets every year from private donors he does not know. 'We are working on an overview of that, precisely because fundraising is becoming more and more important.'

Just like other Dutch universities, Wageningen has a number of funds which are the destination for donations from private individuals, such as alumni. The funds are used to finance extraordinary chairs or provide bursaries for talented students from developing countries, for example.

Universities in other countries receive such philanthropic donations more often. Last September, for example, Oxford University received 90 millions euros to establish a new college. And in 2008, the German Technical University of Karlsruhe was given 200 million euros, thought to be the highest private donation ever to a European university. But American universities lead the field, bringing in hundreds of millions of euros in donations every year.