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Philanthropist Sir Stanley Thomas visits Centre for Student Life

27 January 2020

Sir Stanley Thomas outside CSL
(left to right) Christian Parton (Project Manager, BAM); Professor Colin Riordan, Cardiff University President and Vice-Chancellor; Ben Lewis (Director of Student Support & Wellbeing, Cardiff University); Sir Stanley Thomas OBE (Hon 2011); Greg Spencer (Deputy Director of Development); Jackie Yip (BA 2018), Cardiff University Students’ Union President; Phil Bailey (Business Development Manager, BAM).

Eminent Welsh businessman and philanthropist Sir Stanley Thomas OBE (Hon 2011) has visited Cardiff University’s Centre for Student Life to view construction work on a state-of-the-art auditorium that will bear his name.

A £1.1m donation to Cardiff University from Sir Stanley is funding the 550-seat lecture theatre within the flagship Centre which will provide a heart to the University’s Cathays Campus on Park Place.

Currently being developed by BAM in partnership with Cardiff University Students’ Union, the iconic Centre for Student Life provides a new home for a wide range of student support services.

The Centre will provide a new home for Student Support and Wellbeing Services, offering a broad range of non-academic support to students, from careers advice, global opportunities and study skills workshops, to financial guidance, disability support and counselling.

Cardiff University is an important institution for Wales, and the Centre for Student Life is a ‘must have’ facility that will help future Cardiff students, whatever their background, flourish during their studies. During my visit, I was delighted to see the auditorium taking shape, and pleased to know that the Centre is scheduled to open next year.

Sir Stanley Thomas

The building will feature new social study spaces, consultation rooms and quiet contemplation spaces that complement the Sir Stanley Thomas auditorium – ensuring Cardiff’s award-winning support services for students are more inclusive, accessible and convenient than ever before.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: “We are truly grateful for Sir Stanley’s inspirational and generous gift, and deeply proud of his continued support. The donation will have a transformational impact on the lives of future students, the University and indeed Cardiff and Wales. The new lecture theatre – which features the largest seating capacity of any at the University - will provide our most technically advanced major teaching space.”

Sir Stanley’s gift will help ensure that international and non-international Cardiff students from every walk of life are well-supported in and out of the classroom, and in challenging moments. The Centre for Student Life will deepen Cardiff’s existing strengths in supporting our students’ mental health and wellbeing, money matters, and career preparation – enhancing our already excellent learning and teaching environment.

TJ Rawlinson, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, said: “Sir Stanley’s gift and his visit mark a transformational era for Cardiff University. His longstanding support and philanthropy is helping us to provide the biggest Campus upgrade for a generation, providing essential new spaces where tomorrow’s students can thrive.”

The Centre will sit in front of the Student Union building and utilise unused space around the old Student Union concrete steps, which have been demolished to make way for a new, iconic colonnade along Park Place.

When it opens, the Centre will allow staff in Student Support and Wellbeing services to work in new, more flexible ways. Staff will have the freedom to hot desk and support students from locations around the Centre.

The Centre for Student Life is due to open in summer 2021.

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