Oxford University Receives £26m Donation From Music Tycoon's Widow After Led Zeppelin Concert (PICTURES)

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Led Zeppelin's bassist John Paul Jones
Led Zeppelin's bassist John Paul Jones

Oxford University has been handed £26 million to create scholarships for humanities students - with help from Led Zeppelin's comeback concert.

The donation, made by Mica Ertegun, widow of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, is understood to be one of the biggest in Oxford's 900-year history.

It will be used to set up the Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme in the Humanities.

The scheme will see students worldwide compete for an award to study subjects including literature, history, music, art history, Asian studies, Middle Eastern studies and archaeology.

There will be 15 scholarships to start with, and eventually at least 35 will be awarded each year.

As founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun was responsible for helping to shape the careers of musicians such as Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

At an event announcing the donation today, it was revealed that Led Zeppelin's 2007 comeback concert at the 02 in Greenwich, London, had helped lead to the creation of the Ertegun Scholarships.

The concert, staged in memory of Ertegun, who died in 2006, was the first time the band had played together for 19 years.

More than 20 million fans from across the globe rushed to register for the £125 tickets, which were allocated by lottery.

It is understood that profits from the show went to the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund, which pays for student scholarships to universities in the UK, US and Turkey.

Oxford vice-chancellor Andrew Hamilton said today: "The money from the concert was a magnificent moment that allowed the funding, a number of years ago, of both undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships."

That was the start of a partnership was has led to the creation of the Ertegun Scholarships, which are due to the "immense generosity" of Ertegun, he added.

Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones said he was "very proud" that the concert had led to the new programme.

The donation, which will ultimately be worth more than £26 million, is the biggest made to humanities students in Oxford's history, and understood to be one of the largest generally.

Ertegun said: "For Ahmet and for me, one of the great joys of life has been the study of history, music, languages, literature, art and archaeology.

"In these times, when there is so much strife in the world, I believe it is tremendously important to support those things that endure across time, that bind people together from every culture, and that enrich the capacity of human beings to understand one another and make the world a more humane place."

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