The former carpenter worked in the estates department of the university between 1989 and 2006. Since then he has developed mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer, caused by exposure to asbestos dust.
Although Cambridge University has paid out the compensation, it denies liability and says the award should not be seen as an admission of negligence.
The victim explained that the university provided him and his fellow workers with a paper mask and a special hoover that they believed was an asbestos one.
The BBC has investigated the university and found that it breached policies for the handling of white asbestos. In fact in 2008, it secretly filmed workmen demolishing asbestos without any form of precaution or protection. At the time, one worker described the scene as horrific. Sheets of asbestos were crashing to the ground and the university was taking no action to protect its employees.
Cambridge University blamed the construction company it had hired to do the 2008 demolition and said it no longer worked with them. Asbestos management procedures have now been revised and contractors are regularly audited.
The Health and Safety Executive has also investigated the incident but decided not to bring further action because the university had acted to prevent any similar occurrences.
Mesothelioma is a killer and if you think you may have been exposed to asbestos dust you should visit an injury solicitor who can help you raise a personal injury claim against your former employer.