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The University of Southampton
Alumni and supporters

The Southampton Giving Circles

Philanthropy played an important role in the creation of the University. A gift founded the institution and donations continue to fund our people, facilities, and research.

Established in 2020, the University of Southampton Giving Circles recognise the support and loyalty of our donors and the massive impact they have. Our members’ invaluable support empowers our ambitious and bright students to achieve their very best, and provides the equipment and facilities required to progress our vital research across a range of disciplines.

Our Circles

In celebration of the long legacy of philanthropists at Southampton, we have named the Circles after some of our most important historical benefactors; these individuals have shaped the very foundations of the University and made it what it is today.

Members of the Giving Circles receive an annual report and an invitation to an exclusive event each year, celebrating the advancement we have made as an institution thanks to philanthropy. It is our way of saying thank you.

Southampton philanthropists

The Hartley Circle

Total giving of £1,000+

The Hartley Circle honours the ongoing development of the University through philanthropy. Henry Robinson Hartley wanted to promote the study and advancement of science and learning, and his philanthropy led to the development of the Hartley Institution in 1862, which later became the University of Southampton.

The Grassam Sims Circle

Total giving of £10,000+

The Margaret Grassam Sims Circle celebrates the power of ambition. Daughter of Edward Turner Sims, Margaret left the University a bequest which enabled the building of the Turner Sims Concert Hall on campus, realising her dream to transform the musical landscape of Southampton.

The Vickers Circle

Total giving of £25,000+

The Kenneth Vickers Circle demonstrates the impact of leadership. Former Principal of University College Southampton, Vickers’ objective was for the College to reach full university status. He led a successful fundraising campaign to achieve this despite the 1931 financial crisis.

The Montefiore Circle

Total giving of £100,000+

The Claude Montefiore Circle values the rich variety of philanthropy at the University. A revered scholar, Montefiore donated 4,500 volumes focussing on theology, Judaica, classical texts and ancient history which later became part of the Parkes Library, one of the Special Collections at the University Of Southampton.

The Darwin Circle

Total giving of £500,000+

The William Erasmus Darwin Circle recognises a belief in education for all. Eldest son of the great naturalist Charles Darwin, William championed the establishment of the University College in the early 20th century and generously supported the building of the College’s estate, now known as the University of Southampton.

The Somers Circle

Total giving of £1,000,000+

The Dame Phyllis Somers Circle celebrates the donors of our most prestigious gifts. Dame Phyllis, a leader in supporting causes in social welfare and medical research, made two milestone donations to the University, both having a transformative impact on cancer research.

The Moore Circle

All legacy pledges

The George Moore Circle recognises the difference a legacy gift can make for generations to come. Former University Council Member, Moore left a legacy gift to the University in 1925 which helped develop Southampton’s research expertise in Life Sciences. His generosity is still felt by the University community today in the botanical garden, now known as Valley Gardens, created in his honour.

If you’d like to find out more about the Giving Circles, please contact Hannah Hunt, Donor Relations Officer on +44 (0)23 8059 1906 or via email on

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