Lord Ashcroft makes second £5million gift to create new business school in Cambridge

Published: 17 July 2009 at 13:55

Lord Ashcroft, the Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University since 2001, has today made a gift of £5million to build a new business school in Cambridge.

This follows a similar gift to Anglia Ruskin University, made in 2000, which was used to build the award-winning Michael A Ashcroft Building at the Rivermead campus, Chelmsford. Today’s gift means that Lord Ashcroft has given well over £10 million to Anglia Ruskin University.

The new donation will be used to construct the Ashcroft International Business School in Cambridge, situated in East Road, less than half a mile from the city centre.  It will offer facilities to undergraduate, postgraduate and post experience business students as well as being a base for international research.

Lord Ashcroft is one of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs and a former alumnus of Anglia Ruskin. His commitment to education is substantial and of long-standing, having supported numerous initiatives in many parts of the world. Over the last ten years, he has been working with Anglia Ruskin to develop and implement the concept of education aimed at entrepreneurs. This approach has proved immensely successful in Chelmsford, and the new business school will extend that approach to Cambridge, offering practically-based business education.

Speaking about the announcement, Anglia Ruskin University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Thorne, said:

“We are indebted to Lord Ashcroft for his continued and generous support. This new gift will not only provide funding for the construction of a new building for our Ashcroft International Business School in Cambridge but will also support the launch of our new Institute for International Management Practice which will have a presence not only in the UK but also in at least two international locations.”

“Lord Ashcroft is one of Anglia Ruskin University’s most successful alumni.  He studied at one of its predecessor institutions, Mid–Essex Technical College in Chelmsford, before embarking on his highly successful business career.  He is passionate about education and as well as the previous support he has given us for the building of the new Ashcroft International Business School at our Chelmsford campus in 1999, he supports other education initiatives in primary, secondary and tertiary sectors – in both developed and developing countries - so that young people can have a similar chance to succeed in life. These include a $1.5 million scholarship programme for up to nine students a year from Belize to study for a three-year business degree at the school.”

“The focus of the Institute for International Management Practice’s underlying philosophy will be on real world management challenges and will be the next step in Anglia Ruskin University’s continuing drive to establish its business school as a world leader in practice-based teaching and research. The new facilities and the appointment of a cadre of chairs in International Management Practice will provide a dramatically enhanced environment for teaching and research.”

Lord Ashcroft was particularly impressed by the real-world relevance of the new Institute which is aiming to provide opportunities for students to develop their business and entrepreneurial skills. Speaking about the donation Lord Ashcroft said:

"My attachment and long-term commitment to education is well-known.  In the depths of an economic downturn, I wanted to make an investment in the future economic skills of this country and beyond.  The Ashcroft International Business School will encourage enterprise and excellence. Our objective is to create and to inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs - young men and women with the skills and energy to create jobs and wealth for the 21st Century."