Dr Bhikhu Patel (BA Hons Architecture 1973, Hon LLD 2006) and his wife Shashi have just donated £1 million towards Bristol’s transformational new campus at Temple Quarter.
Bhikhu himself describes the education he received at Bristol as ‘first-class’ and he also personally understands the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship, key elements of the teaching at the new campus:
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.
Now, thanks to Bhikhu and Shashi’s incredibly generous gift, future generations of students are set to benefit as this donation will be essential to the creation of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus (TQEC).
This new campus is set to revolutionise teaching and learning at Bristol. Business education will sit alongside world-class science and engineering research and development. There will be a focus on large-scale digital innovation and provision to increase the skills pipeline to support the burgeoning digital economy. Education will be challenge-based and enterprise focussed with students working with key industry partners to tackle real-world problems.
The new campus is planned to be an open, green, inclusive centre. It will be relevant to international, national and local communities. It will inspire and connect local people, social enterprises, businesses, academics and students. And it will create jobs and celebrate Bristol culture.
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 Shashi. In the early 80s 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’.
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. I wanted to give something back to Bristol. 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. It will also put the University and Bristol on the global map and will bring tremendous benefits to the city and society as a whole.
As well as supporting the new campus, which will attract the best and brightest from around the world, Bhikhu and Shashi are also providing support to students most in financial need. Bhikhu said: “I came to the UK from Kenya with virtually nothing and was the beneficiary of a first-class education at the University of Bristol. Education is very important to me. 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.”
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.
The Development and Alumni Relations Office greatly values 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.