Simon Reuben and David Reuben have been presented with the Sheldon Medal in recognition of their support for students and Reuben College, the University’s newest graduate college.

The Reuben Foundation established the Reuben Scholarship Programme for undergraduates from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds at Oxford in 2012. Hundreds of Reuben Scholars have benefitted from this scheme.

L-R: David Reuben, the Chancellor, Simon Reuben, the Vice-Chancellor and Professor Lionel Tarassenko. Credit: Cyrus Mower Photography

In 2020 the foundation made a landmark donation of £80 million to Reuben College and to establish a major new scholarship programme for graduate students, while also expanding the original undergraduate scholarship programme. Last year, the foundation made a further gift to support the refurbishment of buildings for Reuben College.

Reuben College, formerly known as Parks College, is the University’s first new college in 30 years. It aims to generate new insights into the biggest questions of our time by bringing together academics from traditionally different disciplines to work on challenging themes and share their knowledge with the college’s graduate students. A culture of innovation and enterprise and strong commitment to diversity, sustainability and public engagement cuts across all interdisciplinary activities.

Simon Reuben and David Reuben received the Sheldon Medal – the University’s highest mark of distinction – during a special event at the Oxford Martin School on 27 October. The Rt Hon Lord Patten of Barnes, CH, Chancellor of the University of Oxford, presented the medals – bearing the portrait of each recipient – to the brothers.

Simon Reuben and David Reuben's Sheldon Medals. Credit: Cyrus Mower Photography

The Chancellor said: ‘It is a great privilege to celebrate the arrival of a new college for the 21st century and it is with an immense sense of pride that we are honouring what Simon Reuben and David Reuben have achieved.’

Professor Dame Louise Richardson DBE, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, added: ‘It has been a pleasure to observe the transformative impact of the Reubens’ generosity, from scholarships for undergraduates to a wonderful new college for graduates. It has also been a pleasure to observe their evident delight in the results of their philanthropy. I know that Reuben College, now and in the years to come, will make them proud.’

In an acceptance speech, David Reuben said: ‘Establishing Reuben College accomplished many goals for us and we are happy to continue funding discerning students studying modern subjects. We are delighted that Reuben College will be the hub of learning and research for generations to come. We thank you for the honour – this is a moment I am most proud of in my life.’

The presentation was followed by a celebration dinner at the Divinity School.

Simon Reuben and David Reuben were born in Bombay and moved to London in the 1960s. They established the Trans-World Group, which became a major global metals trading business. They later focused on real estate with their group of companies becoming a leader in real estate investment and development, private equity and venture capital. Simon Reuben and David Reuben are the joint 10th recipients of the Sheldon Medal, which was first awarded in 2002.

The medal is named after one of Oxford’s earliest benefactors – Gilbert Sheldon – who made a substantial donation towards the construction of the Sheldon Theatre, designed by Christopher Wren, during his tenure as Chancellor of Oxford.

Each academic year, the University traditionally awards and presents a maximum of one medal, individually crafted and depicting the benefactor’s portrait on one side and a representation of the Sheldon Theatre on the reverse.