Helping the humanities in their hour of need

Three cheers for philanthropy and for visionary support for the humanities: the largest gift to humanities students in Oxford’s history – more than £26 million – was announced yesterday. The money, which has been given by Mica Ertegun, the widow of Ahmet Ertegun, who founded Atlantic Records and whose wealth grew with the success of musicians such as Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, will pay for 15 people a year to study literature, history, music, archaeology, art history, Asian and Middle Eastern studies. Cheering too to hear Mica saying that she is doing this because for her and her late husband the study of these areas has been “one of the great joys of life”. Relating it to the Badley‘s inheritance, intriguing to think that Bedales was founded on Victorian industrial wealth (for the Badleys it was coal, found under country retreat) and that new sources of wealth are helping the humanities in their hour of need.

By Keith Budge, Headmaster, Bedales Schools


Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.