Principal rings bell at New York Stock Exchange

New Principal of St. Andrews University, Louise Richardson. 9th March 2009. Picture by JANE BARLOW

New Principal of St. Andrews University, Louise Richardson. 9th March 2009. Picture by JANE BARLOW

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THE New York Stock Exchange was ringing the changes yesterday (Thursday) when St Andrews University principal Louise Richardson visited along with Sir Sean Connery.

As the Citizen went to press around 2.30pm, it was 9.30am in the Big Apple where Professor Richardson and Sir Sean were due to ring the opening bell which marks the start of the day’s trading session for the world’s largest stock exchange - a task broadcast to more than 100 million people worldwide.

The Scots superstar and the principal and vice-chancellor were granted the honour in recognition of the University of St Andrews’ 600th anniversary celebrations.

The university is currently celebrating the anniversary, spanning three calendar years from 2011 to 2013, which marks the formal charter granted by Bishop Henry Wardlaw in February 1411 and the achievement of full university status conferred by Pope Benedict XIII by Papal Bull in 1413.

Since 1995, the NYSE has invited notable people to ring its opening and closing bells. Sir Sean and Principal Richardson followed such figures as Nelson Mandela, Rudy Giuliani, Liza Minnelli, the Pink Panther, Gene Simmons, and the New Kids on the Block onto the ornate bell podium and one of the USA’s highest-profile red carpets.

Sir Sean and Principal Richardson are in New York for the US premiere of “Ever to Excel” – the first ever cinematic account of the foundation and development of Scotland’s first university. The film marks Sir Sean Connery’s return to the silver screen - having been coaxed out of retirement to help tell the story of the University of St Andrews (see story on page two).

The film was premiered on Wednesday night at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF). The event was be a private fundraising event for alumni, donors and friends of the university.

Professor Richardson told the Citizen: “It is a great honour and privilege to be invited to ring the famous bell for the world’s largest stock exchange to mark our ancient institution’s 600th birthday.

‘‘I hope that the bell will ring in great financial results, not only for those on the floor but also for our 600th Anniversary Campaign in the years ahead.”