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Oxford University Gets $41 Million From Ahmet Ertegun

Oxford

02/29/12 09:04 AM ET  AP

LONDON -- With a little help from Led Zeppelin, the widow of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun has donated more than 26 million pounds ($41 million) to Oxford University to fund humanities scholarships for graduate students.

On Wednesday the university announced the Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Program, which will initially fund 15 annual international scholarships for the study of subjects including literature, history, music, art history, Asian studies, Middle Eastern studies and archaeology.

That will rise to at least 35 scholarships a year.

The university said the donation is one of the biggest in its 900-year history.

Mica Ertegun said her husband, who died in 2006, had loved the arts. She said the enriching potential of the arts and humanities was especially important "in these times, when there is so much strife in the world."

The son of a Turkish diplomat, Ahmet Ertegun helped shape the careers of musicians including Ray Charles, Eric Clapton and the rock band Led Zeppelin, which he signed to Atlantic in the 1960s after hearing a demo.

The Oxford program grew from Led Zeppelin's 2007 reunion concert, which raised money for the Ahmet Ertegun Education Fund. It pays for scholarships in Britain, the United States and Turkey.

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

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Filed by Rebecca Harrington  |