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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
University left 'biggest' bequest
Cambridge
The 45m bequest is the university's biggest ever
A multi-millionaire scientist has left more than 45m to Cambridge University in his will.

Chemist Dr Herchel Smith made what is thought to be the university's biggest ever single donation, after making his fortune during work to develop the contraceptive pill.

The money will pay for professorships in a number of subjects including pure mathematics, physics, biochemistry and molecular genetics.

The exact amount is still being calculated because of the complicated nature of Dr Smith's will.

Plymouth-born Dr Herchel Smith
Benefactor Dr Herchel Smith
The money is specifically targeted at the areas Dr Smith was interested in.

Former colleague Professor Laurie Hall said: "We knew Herchel was a very wealthy man and he'd made it quite clear that he was mindful to add to his former endowments.

"But quite frankly it's a staggering amount of money - none of us could have dreamt that we'd be so well endowed."

Professor Hall said Dr Smith had created bridges between science and medicine that has been difficult in the past.

He said Dr smith had chosen Cambridge as the beneficiary for two reasons.

"One, he had fond memories of this place. Two, over the years he admired the high quality of our intellect here and he was very much a quality person."

Ocean-going yacht

Dr Smith, who was 76 when he died in December 2001, became a student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1942. He was awarded his doctorate in 1952.

Dr Smith was born in Plymouth, Devon and educated at Exeter before going on to Cambridge.

Though much of his working life was spent in America, his will directed that his ashes should be scattered on the waters of Plymouth Sound, between Plymouth Hoe and Drake's Island, which is near his boyhood home.


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See also:

07 Feb 02 | UK Education
02 Nov 01 | UK Education
30 Jan 01 | UK Education
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