Lecture hall rebrand celebrates donor's support

A prominent University lecture theatre at the Medical School has been renamed to mark an IT pioneer’s support of medical research.

Leading businesswoman Dame Stephanie Shirley has been recognised for her commitment to philanthropy aimed at improving understanding of autism and other developmental conditions.

Lecture Theatre A at the Chancellor’s Building was officially renamed Shirley Hall at a ceremony attended by staff and students.

Lecture hall rebrand celebrates donor's support

The Scottish Government Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead MSP, and the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Mathieson were also present.

Patrick Wild Centre

The renaming celebrates Dame Stephanie’s generous support of the University’s Patrick Wild Centre, which aims to understand the neurological basis of autism spectrum disorders, fragile X syndrome and intellectual disabilities.

Dame Stephanie arrived in the UK in 1939 as an unaccompanied child refugee as part of the Kindertransport rescue effort. She went on to become one of Britain’s most successful IT entrepreneurs.


Dame Stephanie has since turned her efforts to philanthropy, seeking to promote a better understanding of autism spectrum conditions and helping autistic people to lead fulfilled lives.

Her son, Giles, who was autistic, died of an epileptic seizure aged 35.

The Shirley Foundation has contributed £67m in grant funding since its inception. More than £1m of this has supported the Patrick Wild Centre.

My philanthropic activities are targeted to be pioneering — never more of the same, no matter how worthy.  Since 2007 I’ve funded the Patrick Wild Centre for a brain scanner and a microscope so big it had to be levered in by crane.  I am so proud to support this quality centre and help enable some of Britain’s top research.

Dame Stephanie Shirley


Dame Stephanie has been a wonderful supporter of the important research carried out at the Patrick Wild Centre for many years. We are delighted to name Shirley Hall in recognition of her tireless work and philanthropy.

Professor Moira WhyteHead of College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Related links

Study Medicine at the University of Edinburgh

The Patrick Wild Centre