Colin Matheson dedicated over 30 years of loyal service to the University of Westminster. As Director of Scholarships, he was the driving force behind developing the scholarships programme into one of the largest of its kind in the UK and changing the lives of thousands of students. Now retired, we talk to Colin about why he is leaving a legacy in his will.
When asked what is special about the University of Westminster, Colin doesn’t need much time to think. “There are two things,” he says. “The people. And the ethos of the institution; everyone gets the best quality of education possible. My personal views are very much aligned with the University’s ethos and that made working here easy.”This is the ethos of “education for all”, a philosophy that has been at the core of the institution since its earliest days as the Polytechnic, providing education to London’s poor and working classes.
“The heart of the institution is still the same,” says Colin. And he should know. He devoted 30 years of his working life to the University, ten of these as Director of Scholarships. During his tenure, he developed the scholarships programme from a modest £5,000 to £4.3 million, one of the largest scholarship scheme of any university.
When he retired in 2012, the Colin Matheson Scholarship was set up in his name in recognition of the thousands of students from all over the world that he helped in achieving their goals of studying in the UK. The Scholarship is designed to support talented students from developing countries to study for a full-time Masters within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I have the pleasure of choosing the students,” he explains. “They have to make an argument about why what they want to study is useful to the development of their nation or region. It’s very heart breaking to make those decisions.”
After a career spent devoted to opening doors for bright young people who may not otherwise be able to afford education, Colin decided that the best way to secure his legacy and make sure that future generations could continue enjoying the same opportunities was by pledging a gift to the University in his will. “I intend to be very specific about what is done with my money,” explains Colin. One of the things that I think is really important is that we contrive to offer full scholarships for international students. Because otherwise, all we are doing is reinforcing middle-class privilege. If we provide full scholarships, then the poorest students from the poorest areas can actually come here.
“I also don’t believe the student has to have a first class degree. If someone comes from a deprived background then it would be much harder for them to achieve a really good degree than someone from a middle-class background, where they have had tutors and been to the best schools, when they are just as bright. I think it’s nice to know that what you’re doing will offer an opportunity that they would not have had otherwise.”
Leave a legacy today, transform lives tomorrow
Leaving a legacy is an ideal way to give a gift that you might not be able to give during your lifetime that will make a lasting impact on future generations of Westminster students.
Did you know..
• Leaving a legacy is one of the easiest ways you can make a gift to the University.
• You can direct your gift to an area of the University’s work you wish to support in particular.
• Making a legacy gift to the University is tax free and can reduce the tax you pay on your entire estate.
If you would like to find out more about remembering the University in your will, then please contact our Development Office by phoning 020 3506 6245 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.