An interview with IES donor Dr Marta Rivera Monclova

Monday 24 May 2021

Scholarships play an important role in ensuring that the IES and the wider School of Advanced Study can continue to attract the best and brightest students, as well as promoting inclusivity and diversity among our student body and supporting the University of London’s access mission.   

As part of a recent phone campaign to alumni, the University of London Development Office reached out to IES alumni to update them on the Sambrook Appeal. Following the campaign, IES was particularly honoured to receive a gift from Dr Marta Rivera Monclova, an alumna of the T.S. Eliot Summer School, to set up a scholarship in memory of her late partner, Professor Daniel Albright. We spoke to Marta about her connection to the IES and her motivation to give.

Thank you so much for your generous donation to establish the Daniel Albright Scholarship at the IES. How did the gift come about?

Since Dan died, I had been looking for some way to honor his memory and interests. When IES called me one evening, it seemed like fate.

You donated in memory of your late partner, Professor Daniel Albright, who was a renowned scholar and author. Can you tell us more about his connection to the IES, as well as your own links to the Institute?

Dan taught a course at the T.S. Eliot Summer School, and I accompanied him that year and attended the Summer School. He didn’t do the majority of his work on Eliot, but he had a particular affinity for him, and rarely missed a chance to talk about Eliot.

What inspired you to support student scholarships in particular?

Dan was very alert to the ways that he had been fortunate in life – his parents were in the middle class at a time in US history when that allowed them to send him to a good private school, when the public schools in his neighborhood were not great.

When he was accepted at Rice University, the institution was tuition-free, whereas now an undergraduate year there runs near to $50,000 with all expenses considered. If he were 18 today, it would be very unlikely that he could have afforded the education that he had. Giving someone who might not otherwise be able to get a degree that opportunity felt right. In the US, tuitions are so astronomical that the only practical way I could manage this was to support a scholarship abroad.

Your gift will enable a postgraduate student to fulfil their ambitions of studying at the IES, free from financial constraints by covering, not only the cost of fees, but also supporting them with research-related expenses. What impact do you hope that your gift will have?

In my experience, hardship can produce good scholarship, but more often the stress of financial insecurity interferes with people’s ability to do their best work. Even going through a program on a basic scholarship, a student can be placed at a disadvantage if they cannot travel to conferences, or purchase the volume of books they need.

I hope that the student who receives this will be able to find the ease, not only to work, but to dream. In one author’s biography, he wrote: “I daydream about literature, music, and art, and talk about my dreams with classes, and write my dreams in books.” Hardship can produce good work – it is my hope that this scholarship will produce fruitful dreaming.

Marta’s generous gift will make a lasting impact, enabling a deserving student to pursue their dreams of postgraduate education. On behalf of the IES and the University of London, we extend our sincerest thanks to Marta for her support.  

Read more about the Daniel Albright Scholarship
Learn more about the IES Sambrook Appeal and how it supports our students.

 

Marta and Daniel

Dr Marta Rivera Monclova with her late partner Professor Daniel Albright