Two million pound gift will create two vital new academic roles at the University

The University of Bristol is celebrating an incredible £2 million gift from alumnus David Hughes (BSc 1974). This gift will create two new positions at the University: a Chair of Geographical Sciences to support environmental research and a Chair of Digital Chemistry.

David graduated from the University of Bristol in 1974 with a BSc in Chemistry, before moving to Sheffield for his first graduate job. In a chance encounter at a bus stop in Sheffield the following year, he was reunited with a friend from university, Heather Corrie (BSc 1975), and from that point onwards they made their lives together. Heather sadly passed away last year, and David has made this gift to the University to honour her memory. The University is extremely grateful to receive this most personal gift.

‘This gift to the School of Geographical Sciences is made in loving memory of Heather, who always wanted to make a positive difference to the world’, said David. ‘She loved geography, the subject she studied at Bristol, and she was passionate about nature and the outdoors. In recent years, she became increasingly concerned about the adverse impact of humanity on the planet.’

Professor Jens Marklof, Dean of the Faculty of Science, said: ‘The new Heather Corrie Chair of Geographical Sciences will support the world-leading work Bristol is undertaking in environmental research. The climate crisis is humanity’s biggest challenge, and we need research to provide hard evidence that can bring about action and change. The Heather Corrie Chair will boost Bristol’s research and education programmes to support our planet and secure our futures.’

David’s generous gift will also establish a new Chair of Digital Chemistry. The School of Chemistry at Bristol is one of the largest, most globally engaged and vibrant departments in the UK.  The David Hughes Chair will develop revolutionary Digital Chemistry techniques to support activities that have high scientific and societal impact and contribute to the School of Chemistry’s outstanding profile

Professor Jens Marklof continued: ‘We are so grateful to David and Heather for this generous gift, which will support fundamental ground-breaking research in environmental science and modern chemistry for many years to come.’

‘Heather and I both wanted to give something back to  the University, as our time at Bristol was so important to both our lives,’ said David. ‘By giving this gift, I hope to champion these areas of research, which are priority areas for the University, and make a difference to our understanding of how climate geography and digital chemistry can help our futures.’

Recruitment for the Heather Corrie Chair of Geographical Sciences and the David Hughes Chair of Digital Chemistry will begin shortly.

The University of Bristol is grateful to the remarkable support of alumni and friends, whose generosity has far-reaching impact. To find out more about the causes alumni and friends support, click here.

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