Birkbeck welcomes generous alumni back to Malet Street

The College invited alumni and guests to learn about the difference gifts in wills can make to Birkbeck’s students and community.

Master of the College, Professor David Latchman (r) speaks with an alumnus over tea.

Many Birkbeck alumni and supporters have generously chosen to help secure Birkbeck’s future by remembering Birkbeck with gifts in their wills. On Tuesday 13 November, the Master of Birkbeck, Professor David Latchman CBE, invited some of the College’s alumni to Malet Street to tell them more about this way of giving and to thank those who have already remembered Birkbeck in their wills.

Gifts in wills have made a huge difference to Birkbeck. From 2016-2018, Birkbeck received £2.5million from gifts in wills. These gifts have supported Birkbeck students,  provided for student-centred facilities as well as enabled world-leading research projects.

The late alumna Constance Kenway provided a very generous gift to the Psychology Department to support excellent students in financial need. Christine Ozolins, recipient of the Constance Kenway Scholarship in 2017, spoke to the guests about her story.

Christine Ozolins, recipient of the Constance Kenway Scholarship, addresses the group.

She said: “As a child, I had a difficult home life and was unable to finish my schooling.  I spent many years working in a variety of different jobs. However, I always felt unfulfilled and longed to be in a career where I could help others and fulfil my potential.  It took me years to get the courage to change my life, but when I eventually did, I commenced a BSc in Psychology here at Birkbeck.  This degree transformed my life in ways I never could have imagined. I fell in love with the brain and with cognitive neuroscience, something I was not expecting.”

Christine graduated with a first-class degree, and went on to a master’s degree. When her marriage broke down, she worried she would no longer be able to afford to continue her studies. She applied for, and was offered, the Constance Kenway Scholarship which is available for postgraduate psychology students experiencing financial hardship. The scholarship enabled her to complete her MSc.

She continued: “I believe it is so important that people like myself are given a chance to fulfil our potential and create value for society in the present and the future. I believe Birkbeck stands alone in its mission to provide the highest quality education to everybody, regardless of age, background or gender.”

Christine now plans to start a PhD, and she is putting all her energies into finding a way to fund her studies. As there are few funding options available for part-time candidates, she plans to become successful enough to leave money in her own will to support students like herself and to make the path easier for those who will come after her.

Chris Murphy, Director of Development and Alumni and himself an alumnus of Birkbeck, also addressed the group and explained that he and his wife had both chosen to leave a gift to the College in their wills. Gifts in wills, Chris noted, are one of the most private and therefore most generous ways that alumni and supporters can give to the College.

The tea was an opportunity for some of our supporters to find out how integral these types of gifts are to the future of the College. They fund a variety of research projects and support students in different ways. Whatever the amount, gifts in wills make an enormous difference to the College and to students who may otherwise be unable to continue in education.

Legacy gifts of every size have a lasting impact and help to ensure that Birkbeck’s high-quality teaching and world-class research continue to serve future generations of students. If you would like to know more about remembering Birkbeck with a gift in your will, please get in touch with the Development & Alumni Team by calling Kara McMahon on 020 7380 3187 or sending an email to


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