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New outdoor learning space dedicated to the memory of former student

A new outdoor learning space at Loughborough University has been dedicated in honour of former student, John Hanford.

John, who studied Civil Engineering 1951-1955, died in 2013 leaving a significant donation in his Will for the School of Civil and Building Engineering (CBE).

His wife, Rita, discussed a number of options with the University for investing the gift left by her husband. Out of the projects presented, Rita chose to invest the money in co-funding the creation of an outdoor learning space for the School.

Located near to the Sir Frank Gibb Building, formally occupied by the Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC) porta-cabins, the learning space provides an outdoor area where students can study and share ideas.

The canopies provide shelter from both bright sun and light rain allowing students to make use of the facility all year round. The space allows for outdoor teaching activities, such as surveying demonstrations, to take place and includes access to free WIFI and power sockets.

The distinctive and unique environment also promotes biodiversity through the planting of indigenous plants including those that encourage pollination.

An event, which took place on May 13, marked the official opening of the new space and served as a fitting tribute to former student John. Rita attended the event with her two sons, Tim and James.

Professor Tony Thorpe, Dean of Civil and Building Engineering, said: “We are very grateful to the Hanford family for their support in the provision of this outdoor learning space. The area is a perfect memorial to John and his happy years at Loughborough University. With thanks to the Hanford family, we have been able to transform a piece of disused land into an outdoor facility to be used by students and staff for setting up survey equipment and briefing students on outdoor activities.”

The learning space was funded by John Hanford’s legacy gift, the sponsor consortium and Loughborough strategic allocation.

Loughborough University gratefully acknowledges the Hanford family’s support in the provision of the space, in memory of John and his happy years at the University.