A key poultry pioneer and former graduate of Harper Adams is to donate £0.5m in support of the University College’s students.

Robin Faccenda, chairman of the Faccenda Group, is investing £300,000 in a new student centre at Harper Adams, which will bear his name when it opens in 2010. A further £200,000 will fund a long-term programme of student financial support.

Mr Faccenda, who completed his National Diploma in Poultry at Harper Adams in 1961, said: “After a long association with Harper Adams with the Faccenda Award and Temperton Fellowship, it gives me great personal pleasure in being in a position to give financial support to a new student centre along with funding for student development.”

Mr Faccenda has been working with the Harper Adams Development Trust to arrange his generous donation. The trust aims to enhance the experience of every student by raising funds to make sure they have access to the best possible facilities and a wide range of scholarships.

Trust chairman Anthony Burgess said: “We are incredibly grateful to Robin Faccenda for offering such a high level of support.

“Furthermore, this donation will increase in value in the long term, thanks to the government’s match funding scheme for Higher Education. All monies passed on to the Development Trust through this scheme will be ploughed straight back into student support, allowing more and more young people planning careers in the rural sector to benefit from the kindness of one of their predecessors.”

Established more than 40 years ago, the Faccenda Group has grown through a series of acquisitions. Operating from sites in Northamptonshire, the West Midlands and Shropshire, the company supplies chicken products to the retail, food service and manufacturing sectors.