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Thursday, 8 November, 2001, 16:07 GMT
University's 150m campaign
Queen's University in Belfast
University heads are starting an ambitious campaign
The poet Seamus Heaney has made the keynote speech at the launch of Queens University Belfast's campaign to raise 150m for new buildings and academic initiatives.

University heads say the scheme will ensure it continues to compete at a global level in research, teaching and learning.

They want to raise the funds to build a new student centre to replace the old student union building, a library and a student village to house about 1,800 students.

It is planned the money will also be used to develop academic and medical research projects, create news positions to attract leading researchers and provide scholarships to widen access to the university.

Nobel literature prize winner Seamus Heaney will help launch campaign
Nobel literature prize winner Seamus Heaney will help launch campaign
Mr Heaney, a Nobel literature prize winner, who was a student at Queen's and has been a member of staff, spoke warmly of his time at the university.

He composed a poem for the occasion for Alma Mater.

After reading the poem he said: "I have been given more by my alma mater than I ever could have imagined."

Queen's vice-chancellor Professor George Bain, chairman of the Queens University Foundation Dr Allen McClay, Student's Union president John Mackell and deputy president Emma Little also addressed the gathering of 200 guests.

The Campaign for Queen's will ensure Northern Ireland can compete with the world's top universities by giving students the tools they need to maximise their potential in an environment which encourages excellence

Professor Bain
Professor Bain said Queen's University had played a pivotal role in the day-to-day life of Northern Ireland and was determined to "enhance its commitment to the community even further during the 21st century".

He added: "Just as we are proud of our past and our present, we are passionate about our future."

"We have created a great university. Now we must sustain it.

He said the Campaign for Queen's would ensure Northern Ireland could compete with the world's top universities "by giving students the tools they need to maximise their potential in an environment which encourages excellence".

The Queens University Foundation was launched by former US President Bill Clinton during his visit in May.

The foundation's patron is the university's chancellor former US senator George Mitchell.

Aine Gibbons, Queens' development manager
"It is hoped graduates will give money to the campaign"
See also:

19 May 00 | Northern Ireland
University launches 57m expansion
17 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
University wins national award
02 Mar 01 | Education
Universities get funding details
14 Nov 00 | Education
Fundraiser's 21-year marathon
16 Nov 00 | Education
Big rise in university funding
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