WARM tributes were paid to the Rev Dr Jamie Walker to mark his official retirement as chaplain to St Andrews University after 18 years’ sterling service when friends and colleagues marked his departure at a reception and presentation in Lower College Hall.
University Proctor Lorna Milne said: ”Jamie has worked tirelessly as the university chaplain, helping bring together and support people of different cultures, faiths and backgrounds.
“He has provided a listening ear and support for staff and students alike. In times of bereavement and sadness his support has extended to colleagues, friends and family, near and far, not just in the immediate aftermath but year after year.
“He has been an integral part of the daily life of the chapels, preaching himself at Sunday and other special services throughout the year and welcoming guest speakers from across the world.”
Dr Walker has officiated at over 550 weddings in his time as chaplain - and did his best to ensure that those who attended more than one wedding in chapel didn’t hear the same address twice!
In addition, he and his wife, Sheila, also welcomed over 3100 guests into their home and catered for a staggering 3000 meals and receptions.
In 2005, Dr Walker was entrusted with the additional task of setting up the first university-wide Ethical Review Committee.
Since then, under his chairmanship, the University Teaching and Research Ethics Committee has raised awareness and established a high standard of ethical practice across the university.”
In June, Dr Walker received the University Medal, one of the most prestigious honours the institution can bestow in recognition of his exceptional and dedicated service.
Born in Malawi, Dr Walker came to St Andrews in 1993 with broad experience.
Educated in philosophy and divinity at Edinburgh University - having earned a DPhil from Oxford, been ordained in the Church of Scotland and principal of Queen’s College, Birmingham, an ecumenical centre of training for ministry - he had already acquired a perspective that spanned both the academy and the church.
Dr Walker told the Citizen: ,”It has been a great pleasure being university chaplain for 18 years, and also associate director of Student Services.
‘‘There have been many special heart-warming times, but also some heart-wrenching times. To be alongside people in all of these moments and in the ordinary run of events has been an incredible privilege.
“I wish the university and its new chaplain, Donald MacEwan, God-speed for the future and especially as the university celebrates its 600th anniversary.”