The 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion at London’s O2 Arena was part of an effort to raise money for the Ahmet Ertegun Eduction Fund. The AP reported recently that the total raised by the band and Ertegun’s widow after the show amounted to a $41 million donation to Oxford University.
Ertegun the founder Atlantic Records was heavily influential in a multitude of artist’s careers including Led Zeppelin, as well as Ray Charles and Eric Clapton. Ertegun signed Led Zeppelin after hearing a demo of them in the 1960’s. Mica Ertegun says her husband loved the arts, and would be pleased to see so many students benefiting from scholarships in his name. She also said the enriching potential of the arts and humanities was especially important “in these times, when there is so much strife in the world.” With a little help from Led Zeppelin, the widow of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun has donated more than 26 million pounds ($41 million) to Oxford University to fund humanities scholarships for graduate students.
The university announced the Mica and Ahmet Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Program, which will initially fund 15 annual international scholarships for the study of subjects including literature, history, music, art history, Asian studies, Middle Eastern studies and archaeology. That will rise to at least 35 scholarships a year. The university said the donation is one of the biggest in its 900-year history.
Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones said he was “very proud” that the concert had led to the new program.
Led Zeppelin’s 16-song concert in December 2007 was the first full show that the remaining members of the band had performed together since drummer John Bonham’s death. Reviews were positive, and many left wondering if they’d do more shows together in 2008 and beyond. That never happened.