Research at Edinburgh University has received almost £1.2 million from the estate of a former staff member on what would have been his 100th birthday.
Funds from the Robert O. Curle Charitable Trust will support medical and veterinary research, including the creation of a £1m high-tech research suite for studies into eye diseases at Edinburgh Bioquarter.
The donation will also help purchase equipment for the University’s Hospital for Small Animals at Easter Bush, as well as laboratory tools to support conservation research at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.
Robert Ormiston Curle served as the university’s accountant from 1946 until his retirement in 1980. His sister, Hester, a graduate of the university, established a charitable trust in his name after his death in 1991.
Over the years, the trust has generously supported numerous projects in human and animal health at the university.
In recognition of his significant contributions in life and in death, the Robert O. Curle Charitable Trust has now been awarded the distinction of University Benefactor.
Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, presented the award to the charity’s trustees at an event at the Easter Bush campus.
The principal also unveiled a commemorative plaque, which is to be installed in the atrium of the teaching building at the Vet School. Mr Curle was born in Edinburgh on June 6, 1917, and educated at George Watson’s College and Perth Academy.
He qualified as an accountant in 1940 and dedicated his working life to the university, serving under six principals over a period of 34 years.
During this time, he oversaw the finances of major expansions, including the incorporation of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and the Dental School, the huge expansion of King’s Buildings and the creation of Pollock Halls.
A portrait of Mr Curle with his beloved dog, Frisky, hangs at King’s Buildings where he served as Honorary Treasurer of the Common Room for more than 40 years.
Professor Sir Timothy said: “We are delighted to honour Robert’s long contribution to the university and his incredible generosity of both time and money. Along with his sister Hester, he will be remembered for his unwavering loyalty and true commitment to the university’s aims for generations to come.”