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A study house for humanities scholars, funded in part by Led Zeppelin, has formally opened on St. Giles this week.

The band pledged to donate money from their 2007 sell-out concert in the London O2 Arena to an educational establishment in honour of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, prompting his widow, Mica Ertegun, to donate £26 million to Oxford University.

The donation has been used to form The Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme in the Humanities. The scholarship will provide full funding for 16 world-class graduates in subjects including literature, history, music, archaeology, art history and Asian studies.

Ertegun was responsible for discovering and signing Led Zepellin in 1968, and the band paid tribute to him via video link at the opening of Ertegun House.

"Ahmet always said that it was his own education that gave him the foundation to broaden his vision and pursue great things in music," said guitarist Jimmy Page.

"It's a marvellous tribute to him that the Ertegun programme is now launched."

Speaking at the launch of the study centre, Mica Ertegun explained that she wanted to provide "enduring inspiration for brilliant and enthusiastic students from all over the world to devote themselves to the study of the humanities".

She added: "My dream is that, one day, Ertegun Scholars will be leaders in every field - as historians and philosophers, as archaeologists and literary scholars, as writers and composers, as statesmen and theologians."

Prof Andrew Hamilton, Oxford University Vice-Chancellor, has promised that the university will support Mrs Ertegun's financial contribution by funding an additional five Ertegun scholarships next year and extending the programme to at least 35 scholars in 2014.

He said: "The Ertegun Programme supports Oxford University's commitment to providing financial support that allows the brightest graduates to study at the University, whatever their personal circumstances.

"The University is pleased to provide additional studentships and augment Mrs Ertegun's extraordinary philanthropy.

"We are excited to be welcoming the inaugural class of Ertegun Scholars to the University of Oxford," added Hamilton.

Joe Snape, an Ertegun scholar studying at Musicology at New College, said: "It's an amazing opportunity to come to Oxford to study in such a fantastic facility, together with a bunch of really motivated, passionate people.

"In simple, financial terms, [the scholarship] makes the difference between being able to continue studying or not."

He continued: "I applied to Oxford because I knew there was more funding available than at many other places.

"I expected a lot when I arrived - it is honestly more amazing than I could have dared hope," he added.

All the Scholars are provided with a dedicated working area within Ertegun House for research and writing, and will be mentored by Dr. Bryan Ward-Perkins, Oxford historian and archaeologist, who is famous for his book The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization.

From: The Oxford Student Online
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

March 17, 1969 - A four-song performance is filmed for TV Byen in Denmark (aired on May 19, 1969)
March 21, 1969 - Zeppelin’s debut TV appearance on "How It Is"
March 25, 1969 - Filming session for the Supershow
March xx, 1970 - The band turns down many TV offers worth large sums
March 05, 1971 - Led Zeppelin started a 12-date "Thank You" tour for British fans, appearing at the clubs from their early days and charging the same admission prices as in 1968. The first show was at Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland where they played songs from their upcoming fourth album, including the first public performances of Black Dog, Stairway To Heaven, Going To California and Rock And Roll.
March 12, 1972 - Page and Plant rehearse some songs with the Bombay Orchestra
March 25, 1973 - Led Zeppelin finally release Houses of the Holy after production issues with the album cover
March 28, 1973 - Led Zeppelin released Houses Of The Holy in the UK. The album title was a dedication by the band to their fans who appeared at venues they dubbed "houses of the holy". Houses Of The Holy has now been certified 11 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 11 million copies.
March xx, 1974 - The band decide to release a double album due to the amount of left over studio material
March 29, 1975 - Led Zeppelin saw all six of their albums in the US Top 100 chart in the same week, alongside their latest album Physical Graffiti at No.1. Physical Graffiti has now been certified 16 times Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for US sales in excess of 16 million copies.
March 15, 1975 - Tickets for the Earls Court shows sellout within four hours
March xx, 1976 - Jimmy speaks with reporters mentioning the new album due out called Presence
March 31, 1976 - Presence is released
March 28, 1977 - Zeppelin arrive in Dallas, Texas to rehearse before opening the eleventh tour of the US
March xx, 1978 - Robert and John spend some time hanging around the Midlands
March 26, 1979 - Robert takes lead vocal at a Bad Company gig in Birmingham
March 04, 1980 - John Bonham makes a TV appearance on "Alright Now" with Bill Connolly
March 26, 2006 - Readers of Total Guitar magazine voted the guitar solo by Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven as the greatest guitar solo of all time. The 1971 track was voted ahead of tracks by Van Halen, Queen, Jimi Hendrix and The Eagles. On the 20th anniversary of the original release of the song, it was announced via US radio sources that the song had logged up an estimated 2,874,000 radio plays - back to back, that would run for 44 years solid.
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