Worcester College, Oxford accepts transformational gift from Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones
Worcester College, Oxford accepts transformational gift from Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones

Worcester College, Oxford accepts transformational gift from Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones

The Governing Body of Worcester College is delighted to announce that it has accepted a major donation of £30 million from Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones KBE. This gift is the largest in the life of the College to date and marks the start of an exciting and transformational period for Worcester. 

Sir Lindsay is an alumnus of the College and matriculated in 1965 to read Modern Languages. He is an Honorary Fellow and a trustee of the Worcester College Oxford Endowment Trust. He was appointed Chairman and CEO of L'Oréal in 1988 and has been its Honorary President since 2011. He is a Commandeur of the Légion d'Honneur and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Worcester College seeks to be a forward-looking Oxford college with academic excellence at its core. This exceptional donation will help us achieve our ambition, transforming the learning and living environment at Worcester College through the construction of two innovative new buildings.

The first, The Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones Library, will offer the modern and accessible workspaces and facilities which students require to excel. Far more than a library, the vision is for the new building to create the best circumstances for study and collaboration for all Worcester’s staff and students.  It will not only deliver contemporary spaces for individual and joint working using multi-media facilities; it will be a landmark building situated at the heart of the College site and constructed to the highest environmental standards.  This state-of-the-art facility will complement our historic Lower Library, which will continue to offer a home to our internationally-significant special collections.

The second Owen-Jones building will increase the amount of graduate accommodation within the College and will set a new standard for single and double residences at Worcester. It will also assist in the generation of additional income to support the College’s educational activities. This new building will be a welcoming home where the growing community of students who come to Worcester to undertake taught and research-based further study can thrive. 

“This is an extraordinarily generous gift that will be transformational for Worcester College and for its current and future students. I know well the importance of quality library provision and study space for enabling the educational experience we want for our students, as well as our need as a world-leading collegiate university to host more graduate students. Sir Lindsay is to be congratulated for his vision and inspirational investment in our core mission. The Worcester community and Oxford is rightly very proud of a much-loved alum, and on behalf of the entire University I send my heart-felt thanks.”

University of Oxford Vice Chancellor, Professor Irene Tracey CBE FRS FMedSci

Worcester College Provost, David Isaac CBE, said: “We are deeply grateful to Sir Lindsay for making this incredible commitment to Worcester College.  Through the creation of a new Library and workspace, this landmark donation will strengthen the Worcester community by supporting our core academic mission and transforming the overall student experience.  The state-of-the-art library facilities will allow for both traditional study and collaborative working. The Owen-Jones graduate building will also enable us to increase the size of our graduate community and better support their experience in College. Thanks to Sir Lindsay’s gift we will ensure that future generations of graduate students will benefit from the beauty of Worcester’s gardens and grounds. Worcester College owes its existence to a generous benefaction; Sir Lindsay’s gift will be equally transformational for students in the twenty-first century.”

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones KBE, said: "My heart missed a beat when many years ago I first encountered the beauty of Worcester College. Amazement, joy and pride quickly followed when I heard that I had been selected to be an undergraduate there.  For a teenager from Merseyside, studying at Worcester was a life-changing opportunity which dramatically widened my horizons and awakened my ambition. I am delighted that I can express my profound appreciation for all that Worcester did for me through this gift.  I hope that these new buildings will support and inspire future generations of students in the same way that Worcester once supported and inspired me.”