Malone Atrium opening

Atrium at University's Portland Building named in honour of inspiring benefactor

A newly refurbished atrium in the University of Nottingham’s Portland Building has been officially named after a generous benefactor and friend of the University.

The Malone Atrium has been named in honour of successful businessman Kevin Malone (1922-2011). Kevin left school at the age of 14 and although a university experience was denied him, he was determined that the same fate should not hold others back and he began providing scholarships to help talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds to attend university.

The Ethel and Kevin B Malone Scholarship, supported by FUN America Inc, is for students from the local surrounding areas, including Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and South Yorkshire. Kevin’s generosity to the University throughout his lifetime and through his legacy, has given hundreds of students the chance to study and excel. Since it was established in 2002, 150 students, from all walks of life, have received scholarships, and his generosity continues towards the students of today and to those of the future.

Born in Basford, Nottingham, to working-class parents, Kevin said he always “sailed through” tests at school and easily qualified for grammar school, but his family wasn’t sufficiently wealthy to support a university education.

After leaving school he worked in pharmaceuticals before joining the RAF where he served for four years in India. On returning to Nottingham in his early twenties he began working for a commercial photographer, and in 1956 he and his wife Ethel moved to New York, where he made his fortune producing photographic plates.

Professor Jeremy Gregory welcomed special guest Adrian Dawes — President of FUN America Inc, and a graduate (Industrial Economics, 1985) of the University — who travelled from the US to attend the event on 17 April 2018, and unveil the plaque to officially name the Malone Atrium. The atrium will be a central area for meeting and relaxing for students in the newly developed Portland Building on University Park Campus.

FUN America Inc was established by US based alumni in 1990. Its primary purpose was to support fundraising and alumni activity in the US. Its supporting activities have enabled alumni and students living in the US to keep in closer touch with fellow alumni and the University of Nottingham.

Professor Jeremy Gregory, said: “I am delighted to be here this afternoon to welcome our special guests, some of whom knew and met Kevin during the course of his relationship with the University.

“Kevin had a vision in which he wanted as many young people to experience university and the wonder of education and knowledge, which he wasn’t able to enjoy directly himself. We share Kevin’s vision here at Nottingham, in which we as an institution want to offer as many people as we can, who have the ability to study here, a chance to expand their education.”

The event continued with personal insight from Faye Haslam (History, 2012), who received the Malone Scholarship in 2009 for the duration of her studies, who shared her experience of being a scholarship recipient. On his numerous visits to the UK, and University of Nottingham staff visits to him in the US, Kevin liked nothing more than to meet with the scholars he was helping and to hear what a difference his support was making. 

During a celebratory dinner held later in the evening, and in acknowledgement and recognition of their generous support for the University of Nottingham, FUN America Inc was officially admitted into the University’s College of Benefactors.

On welcoming the honorary guest — Adrian Dawes, President of FUN America Inc — Professor Sarah O’Hara, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Student Experience, said:

“Over the years, FUN America has diversely supported scholarships including the Masters programmes, English Place Name research, Ingenuity and subject specific prizes. As a result of this wide ranging support FUN America Inc has helped impact and improve the student experience for so many.

“I am sure you are in agreement that FUN America has been an incredible ambassador for the University of Nottingham and this has been made possible due to extraordinary alumnus like Adrian and the Board members both current and past.”

The University’s Golden Jubilee in 1998 celebrated the granting of the University Charter 50 years previously. To recognise this, the University created a special way to acknowledge the most generous of its supporters with the establishment of the University of Nottingham, College of Benefactors. Through membership of the College, the University publicises and thanks those far-sighted and visionary individuals, trusts, organisations and companies, who have supported higher education at Nottingham and have therefore promoted the future development of the arts, sciences, education and medicine.

The current membership of 52 consists of members, based not only in the UK, but also worldwide, particularly in the US and China.

Posted on Friday 8th June 2018