St Andrews University has enjoyed one of the most fruitful and memorable years in its long history and, on the eve of its 600th anniversary in 2013, can look to the future with confidence and hope.
That was the positive end-of-year message from principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson (pictured), who told the 2000-strong university staff that she hoped the next year would bring new opportunities for St Andrews to come together as a community to mark the anniversary of Scotland’s oldest, and leading, university.
Speaking to the Citizen of her pride in the “unwavering commitment” of staff to students and the university, Professor Richardson said: ”The past 12 months have been remarkable, not only for the speed at which they have passed, but for the outstanding witness they have borne to the creative energy and intellectual power of our unique community here in St Andrews.
“On the academic front, we have enjoyed continued success in domestic league tables and have a top 100 placing in the QS rankings, received a European award for attracting and retaining the best staff from around the world and appointed our first composer-in-residence.’’
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and saw our Sea Mammal Research Unit presented with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize.
“Academics across the university won a wide range of awards and accolades from research councils, funding agencies and learned societies, while our IT services won a Europe-wide award for IT transformation.”
Other highlights she spoke of included the BREEAM “excellent” rating for the new BSRC building and the acquisition of Martyrs’ Kirk in the heart of the town centre.
Professor Richardson continued: ”We welcomed our largest and most diverse entering class ever and established our first student exchange with India. In the summer, Noam Chomsky addressed a packed Younger Hall, and Sebastian Barry was the fourth author to speak at the university under the auspices of the Booker Prize Foundation.
“Celebrations for our 600th anniversary continued with the launch of Murray Grigor’s beautiful tribute to St Andrews, Ever to Excel, the excitement of the university ringing the New York Stock Exchange bell, our participation in the Lord Mayor of London’s Parade, the formation of a ‘human crest’ by students and staff, and a highly successful fundraising dinner attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”
The recent dinner attended by alumni, William and Catherine, shortly before the announcement of the Duchess’s pregnancy, raised over £400,000, all to fund new scholarships and bursaries.
She explained that the windfall will provide invaluable support to students who would otherwise find it difficult or impossible to come to live in St Andrews to study, while in 2013 raising further funds for scholarship will be a key theme of the finale of the university’s 600th anniversary celebration programme marking the milestone in its history.
The vice-chancellor concluded: ”The new year will bring further opportunities for us to come together as a community as we enter the final phase of the anniversary celebrations.
“In looking back over all that we have achieved over such a short time, I am reminded once more of what a great privilege, and real pleasure, it is to work with such a professional, dedicated staff.“
Meanwhile, the university expects to begin its anniversary year in 2013 by publishing new research detailing its economic impact upon St Andrews, Fife and further afield in Scotland and the United Kingdom.
The last occasion such research was undertaken, prior to the recession, and just over three years ago, established that St Andrews staff and students generated over £300 million a year for the economy and supported over 9000 jobs.