Mica Ertegün confident of seeing more Turks at Oxford University

Mica Ertegün confident of seeing more Turks at Oxford University

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Mica Ertegün confident of seeing more Turks at Oxford University

Mica Ertegun is seen with musician John Paul Jones of Led Zepplin at a press conference in London. Led Zeppelin gave the proceeds of of its 2007 concert to Ertegün to use for good causes in her husband’s name. AP photo

The days when the young crowds sang along to the infamous opening of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” are a thing of the past. Today, many international humanities students dreaming a post-graduate education at University of Oxford colleges owe as much to philanthropist Mica Ertegün, the wife of late Ahmet Ertegün, who recently donated around 40 million dollars to the university for the charitable cause, as they do to the legendary British rock band Led Zeppelin, who inspired the idea.

“We are very confident that many Turkish students will win the scholarship in the years to come,” Ertegün said to Hürriyet Daily News.

The reason that Mica Ertegün set her mind on an educational charity project with Oxford University was due to her already strong connections with academics at the university, through the Ahmet Ertegün Education Fund’s support of existing undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships there. Its foundation also has much to do with Mica Ertegün’s close links with Led Zeppelin, who held the famous Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert in London’s 02 Arena in a one-off reunion in 2007. Ahmet Ertegün famously championed a great many legendary artists through his Atlantic Records, including Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Genesis, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and many more.

Led Zeppelin gave the proceeds of the 2007 concert to Mica Ertegün, to use for good causes in her husband’s name. The money was channeled to the Ahmet Ertegün Education Fund, which pays for university scholarships not only in the U.K. and U.S.A. but also in Turkey.

Ertegün told the Daily News over email correspondence that the band asked her to consider doing something in Britain with the proceeds, so she got in touch with Oxford University. “That lead to the establishment of the existing scholarships at Oxford in Ahmet’s name, which in turn led to the fantastic gift that was announced last week,” she said.

She added that, for her and her husband, one of the great joys of life had been the study of history, music, languages, literature, art and archaeology. “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.”

Ertegün said that the mission of the Mica and Ahmet Ertegün Graduate Scholarship Programme in the Humanities would be to fund and encourage graduate study in the Humanities for highly qualified students from throughout the world who have a plan to enlarge their knowledge, the desire to extend their vision, and who seek the opportunity to exchange their ideas.

“I believe the university will use its best efforts to recruit outstanding scholars from around the world for this scholarship, without prejudice by country or creed. Given the very high quality of Turkish university graduates, and the numbers that already made their way to Oxford, we are confident that many Turkish students will compete for and win Ertegün Scholarships in the years to come,” she said.