Professor Sir Steve Smith has led the University of Exeter since October 2002, during which time it has attained Russell Group membership, witnessed turnover increase five-fold to £430 million and has featured regularly as a top-10 UK university.

The first in his family to go to university, Sir Steve has a deep personal commitment to the transformative power of higher education. Told at school that university wasn’t for him, he was driven not only to succeed academically but also to devote his life to opening up educational opportunities to all.

With Sir Steve’s planned retirement announced for August 2020, we would like you to join us in honouring a leader who has steered Exeter to become one of the UK’s fastest growing and rapidly rising research universities; an institution with a growing international reputation.

The University has decided to approach a select group of supporters with a view to creating a permanent endowment in an area close to Sir Steve’s heart. Their philanthropy would establish the Sir Steve Smith Scholars programme to help talented students from all backgrounds achieve their potential far into the future.

During Sir Steve’s tenure, student numbers have doubled and the need for support has grown. His wish is that we augment our £40m endowment to provide for students in perpetuity, and to stand alongside wealthier competitors.

We want to disburse six Sir Steve Smith Scholarships in perpetuity. There will be one scholar in each of the University’s six Colleges at any one time, each receiving an award of £10,000 per year for the duration of their studies.

To do this we need to raise £1.6 million to add to the endowment. Please consider joining us in honouring Sir Steve as one of the founding donors to the programme.