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Building a legacy for Selwyn


“Why have I remembered Selwyn in my Will - in a word: gratitude; or perhaps two words: profound gratitude."

Sir David Harrison (SE 1950, Fellow & Former Master of Selwyn)

Since its foundation in 1882, Selwyn has benefitted from the generosity of countless alumni and friends who have made provision for the College in their Wills. This support has contributed to almost every aspect of college life, and without it, Selwyn would be a very different place today. Legacies will remain critical to supporting students and Fellows, maintaining the college's glorious buildings and gardens and the long-term financial health of the college. 

If you are kindly considering leaving a legacy to Selwyn, we are very grateful and Sam Davis, Major Gifts and Legacies Manager, would be delighted to hear from you to provide any help which you may require and to discuss the impact that your legacy could have. You can also find out more about remembering Selwyn in your Will here.

Transformational legacies at Selwyn

In 2019 Dr Dennis Elgar (SE1955) left a transformative legacy to the college for the benefit of less well-off students. Thanks to Dr Elgar's generosity, the college has introduced:

  • The Elgar master's studentship - funding Selwyn students who wouldn't otherwise be able to secure funding for a year of further study.
  • The Elgar vacation residence grant - a vacation residence grant to cover accommodation costs for students from lower-income families who wish to remain at Selwyn during the Easter vacation to continue with their studies or finish a dissertation.
  • The Elgar finalists grants - grants offering up to £300 for bursary students who are preparing for the next stage of their career, to help with items such as application fees, travel, clothing or other costs associated with students’ progression into their postgraduate lives.
  • The Elgar matriculation book and equipment grants - payments of £100 for all new undergraduates from autumn 2020, with a further sum of up to £250 available for lower-income students. This is to help with the initial costs of being at university.
  • Formal Hall tickets. An entitlement of up to six formal hall tickets per year free of charge for bursary holders so they can enjoy their life at Selwyn and Cambridge to the full.

Several larger legacies were central to the successful completion of The Bartlam Library and The Quarry Whitehouse Auditorium which opened in 2021 and completed Ann's Court in stunning fashion.

All legacies, of whatever size, make an essential contribution to Selwyn. Whether supporting the thriving sporting and musical life of the college through gifts to the boat club or the choir, helping to underpin our academics' teaching and research or making a Selwyn education truly accessible by providing bursaries and hardship  funds, your legacy will have a lasting impact.

Recommended Wording

We recommend the wording below as a basic template which can be used in your Will and adapted according to your generous intentions.

State that your gift, which might be a proportion of the residue of your estate or a specific sum, is made to “Selwyn College Cambridge (England & Wales registered charity number 1137517) for its general charitable purposes”. We recommend that you use a qualified solicitor to ensure that your Will is valid.

Tax Efficient Giving

As Selwyn is a registered charity (No. 1137517), leaving a legacy bequest to the college could have tax benefits for your estate by reducing the amount liable to Inheritance Tax. To calculate the value of your estate and how to offset any tax due by leaving a legacy to Selwyn or other charities, please visit the HM Revenue and Customs website: GOV.UK.

Leaving a legacy in the USA

Alumni based in the USA can also benefit from estate planning guidance from Cambridge in America. Cambridge in America can discuss your wishes to support Selwyn and advise on how it might be possible to achieve this. US-based alumni and friends who include Selwyn in their Wills are also eligible for membership of The 1209 Society.

Recognising your support - the 1882 Society

Those who notify the Development Office of their intention to leave a gift to the college are automatically enrolled in the 1882 Society. Over 200 alumni, Fellows and friends are members and are invited back to Selwyn for a special luncheon every year. They are also listed in the Annual Report.

Where your support will go

Legacies can be directed towards specific parts of college life but contributions marked ‘for general purposes’ are especially welcome as they will allow the college to respond to changing needs in years to come.

Selwyn is delighted to recognise legacy gifts with permanent forms of recognition within the college, including the naming of Fellowships, Bursaries, and rooms in the college.  If you are interested in making this kind of gift, please contact the Major Gifts and Legacies Manager Sam Davis.

“About fifty-five years ago the college looked after me, and my bequest is a small way of helping Selwyn to continue to help others.” 

Legator (SE 1955)