Stories & Updates

Why I gave to the Library – Tim Ashley

6th September 2021

Ironic though it might seem to those who knew me as an undergraduate, I recently made a donation to Exeter’s campaign to raise money for the exciting re-imagining of our lovely but tired College Library.

Other leading colleges have been giving their libraries a ‘21st Century Makeover’ and it is vital to Exeter’s ability to attract top quality students in future that the College compete by offering similarly class-leading facilities. The designs are phenomenal – light, bright, accessible, connected, flexible and beautiful.

Many alumni will have done rather well as their asset values surged in response to the Chancellor’s pandemic stimulus measures but the same cannot be said of the average teenager, who has had a pretty grim eighteen months of it. This makes me feel that it’s a good moment to look Covid-19 in the eye and remind ourselves that however good your tailor, there are no pockets in a shroud.

Exeter did me, personally, a vast favour by taking a punt and offering me a place in 1979. I have no doubt whatsoever that I would have far less to give now, in so many ways, had those kindly dons chosen another candidate. So for me at least,  it’s time to repay that debt. And if, in paying it back, I can also pay it forward to future generations of students, so much the better.

I honestly feel that there has never been a better or more important time to make this sort of gesture. For me it has passed from being a hypothetical possibility to being an absolute obligation. Our generation has flourished like none before and now it’s time for a good dose of Floreat Exon.