Oxford College to Change Name after £ 155million Donation | Oxford University

An Oxford University college will change its name to honor Vietnam’s richest woman after she offered him a £ 155million donation.

Linacre College has announced that it will seek permission from the Privy Council to change its name to Thao College after signing a memorandum of understanding on money with the Sovico Group, represented by its president, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao.

The graduate college, founded in 1962, is named after Renaissance humanist, medical scientist and classical scientist Thomas Linacre. The donation will help pay for a new graduate center and graduate access scholarships, the college said.

“We have long been one of the least well endowed colleges in the university, so we are delighted that a significant portion of the donation is going into our general endowment fund, to help support the day-to-day running of the college,” did he declare.

Linacre College. The donation will help pay for a new graduate center and graduate access scholarships, the college said. Photograph: Graham Turner / The Guardian

“The Sovico Group has also made a commitment that all of its subsidiaries will achieve the net zero carbon target by the end of 2050 with input from leading Oxford academics.

“After receiving the first £ 50million donation, we will contact the Privy Council to request permission to change our name from Linacre College to Thao College in recognition of this historic gift.”

In Oxford, Thao’s donation to the institution, which has defined itself as “one of the greenest colleges in Oxford”, has raised concern. Sovico’s business interests include offshore oil and gas exploration, fossil fuel financing, and Vietnam’s first private airline.

According to tab, Thao drew much of his fortune from the low-cost airline VietJet Air, controlled by Sovico. The conglomerate is also the largest shareholder of HDBank, in which she is also vice-president. HDBank is the main financier of the state-owned Vietnam National Petroleum Group.

Dr Maria Kawthar Daouda, Senior Lecturer in French Literature at Oxford, said The telegraph college names should not be changed just because “a large donation has been made”.

“The gratitude for Madame Thao’s money could be expressed in a way that does not erase what the donation is supposed to protect,” Daouda said.

Another don, who has not been identified, was more relaxed about the change. “If it were one of the great historic colleges, we would have deep reservations,” he said. “But since it’s a modern college and doesn’t have a big endowment, you can understand the decision. If someone has to invest a colossal amount of money, it is not unreasonable to have something to show.


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