The donation is the largest single gift to the College since 2008Varsity

Murray Edwards College has announced that it has received a £2 million donation from the John Browne Charitable Trust- the largest donation that the College has received since 2008.

The building will be named the Paula Browne House, honouring the mother of Lord John Browne, who founded the trust over twenty years ago. Paula Browne was a Hungarian Auschwitz survivor, who moved to Cambridge with her family in 1955. During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, she joined a network of people in the UK who provided refuge to those fleeing Hungary.

In a recent press release, the College described Paula Browne as an “exceptional woman” whose actions left a “big impression” on her son, Lord John Browne.

Browne commented: “My mother was an uncommon woman who cared enormously about granting women equal access to opportunity – because it was something that was denied to her.”

He added that his mother “would have been so pleased to be associated in this way with Murray Edwards [...] It is a special college, part of an extraordinary University, to which I owe a great deal.”

The College will use the donation to obtain a new building, which will provide student accommodation, as well as teaching and conference spaces.

It said it will use the new building to help further support their students, with a particular focus on helping those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dame Barbara Stocking, President of Murray Edwards College, said: “On behalf of the College, I would like to offer our sincerest thanks to the John Browne Charitable Trust for their extremely generous donation.

“Murray Edwards is currently limited in the accommodation it can provide students, and the spaces it can offer for teaching and learning. This gift will enable us to change all that.”

Stocking further stated that the gift will allow the College to “educate more outstanding young women, particularly those from backgrounds that have been traditionally under-represented at Cambridge.”

The trust’s donation preserves its long-standing relationship with Murray Edwards, to which it has donated over £200,000 since 2005 to fund the Paula Browne Scholarships. The scholarships are awarded annually, typically to students from Eastern European countries who demonstrate “exceptional potential” but require financial support.

The John Browne Charitable Trust states on their website that “universities and other higher education institutions are one of the most powerful tools at our disposal to enable social mobility.”


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The trust was founded 20 years ago, to help fund causes associated with Lord Browne’s life as an “engineer, businessman, patron of the arts, and son of a Holocaust survivor.” Since it was established, it has distributed over £2 million in five key areas: the natural environment, engineering, higher education, visual and performing arts, and human rights.

Speaking to the Jewish Chronicle in 2013, Lord Browne said his mother “didn’t approve of looking backwards”.

“Until about a year before she died, she really didn’t talk about it. I think that was pretty well in common with many survivors. The future was the point. We had to learn from the past, but not dwell in it,” he said.

Lord Browne has a particular affinity with Murray Edwards after forging a friendship with  Anne Lonsdale, former President of the College (1996-2008), through his work with the University. They both shared passions for gender equality, the environment and climate change.