Scottish universities benefited from public donations of £40 million last year (your report, 12 April). These monies will be warmly welcomed by the principals and will greatly help provide world-class facilities, support ground-breaking research and even contribute to the finances of individual students who would not otherwise be able to take up a place at our universities.
If Scottish universities are to compete nationally and internationally, then this kind of public support, mainly from alumni, is much to be encouraged. The struggle, however, looks rather uphill. Of the total of £774m donated in 2012 to British universities, some 45 per cent went to two universities, namely Oxford and Cambridge. These sums were in addition to the £1.25 billion raised by Oxford University following a fund-raising campaign, and matched by Cambridge University’s £1bn.
Let us hope that the American student tradition of strong financial support for their alma mater is adopted here.