Alumnus Richard Oram has made a generous gift in support of the academic programme within the Department of Geography and Environment that he once studied on. In 1977 Richard graduated in MSc Planning Studies and is generously supporting the programme, now known as Regional and Urban Planning Studies (RUPS), on three levels.
Richard’s gift has established the the Oram Foundation Research Position, providing support for post-MSc researchers pursuing a programme of research consistent with the curriculum of the department; the Oram-Stott-Schlusche Scholarship for an MSc student in Regional & Urban Planning; and the Leslie and Richard Oram Fund, a flexible fund for research support, conferences, training and networking, academic trips and seminars.
After his time at the School, Richard worked in the public transport field for 35 years. He founded Commuter Check Services Corp, making tax-free transit benefits common throughout the US. He said: “My LSE experience reflects what the programme can do. I stayed for a year after my MSc, which was only possible due to a grant I received and generous support and encouragement from the planning programme director, Derek Diamond. My post-MSc work applied UK advances in transport economics to the US setting; circulated by the US Department of Transport, it had significant influence and gave me broad exposure. In essence, LSE framed much of what I was able to do in my career.”
The RUPS programme was formed in 1966, when professors in the departments of Economics, Geography and Government departments concluded there were significant intellectual gains to be made in training future planners in an interdisciplinary environment. Since then it has challenged nearly 1,000 young ‘urbanists’ to engage with economics, politics and space, using London as a laboratory, each year attracting 30-40 MSc students and a small cohort of research students.