“My great-uncle’s education
and success was funded by somebody else, and this is our way of carrying that philanthropy
on and giving back to our local community.”
Hugh Silberrad, great-nephew of founding donor Lilian Silberrad and
her husband Oswald.
A unique offering
The Essex story is as much about our buildings as it is the events that have shaped it.
Our founding vision to blend life and learning is represented in our architecture, including
our interrelated squares, our iconic towers and our eclectic sculpture park.
From sit-ins in the 1960s to chalking our steps with the UN Declaration of Human Rights
in the 2010s, our students have used our buildings to challenge conventions and make their
Built on philanthropy
One of Essex's first philanthropic gifts was the site of our Colchester Campus, Wivenhoe
Park, donated by Essex County Council. Plans for the new university were able to move forward
thanks to this gift and the success of a public appeal, which was supported by nearly 700
founder donors including local resident Lilian Silberrad.
The generosity of Lilian's family continues to this day through a legacy gift from her son John
of more than £2 million to support PhD scholarships. We have recognised the support of the Silberrads by
naming our new Student Centre in their honour. The Centre continues to meet
our ambition to bring living and learning together.
Making a difference
Today over 14,000 students live and learn on our three campuses. The Silberrad Student
Centre and the carbon-zero building to house our Essex Business School
are the starting point for our next phase of growth, which will support our world-class
research and train the leaders of tomorrow.
With your help, we can educate and foster a greater number of people who are hungry to learn.
Want to know more? Get in touch.