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Friday 8 March 2013

Sir Sean Connery

A world-wide weekend of simultaneous screenings of the University of St Andrews’ 600th Anniversary film ‘Ever to Excel’, narrated by Sir Sean Connery, will be launched in October with all proceeds to support a Sir Sean Connery Scholarship Fund.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews Professor Louise Richardson is inviting alumni around the world to sign up to host their own film viewings over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday 19 and 20 October, 2013.

Following the film’s London premiere at BAFTA last week, attended by over 200 alumni and friends, the Principal is urging graduates to take the film to a greater audience, enabling anyone who couldn’t make it to one of the US or UK premieres the chance to share in the cinematic history of Scotland’s first University.

The Principal said:

“This film represents what we are celebrating this year – the 600 year history of a University that has always looked outwards and contributed on a global stage. We cannot, therefore, be satisfied with premieres in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, New York and LA. We want this film to reach out right around the world, to share what we have to celebrate, and to promote the enduring value of what we do.

“We call upon our alumni to become ambassadors for the film and what it stands for – a unique and unrivalled university built on a belief in people and ideas. Together we can invest and encourage others to invest in those values and to help secure the resources to realise the ambitions and raise the aspirations of generations to come.”

The historic documentary “Ever to Excel”, directed by Murray Grigor OBE and produced by Hamid Shams, tells the remarkable story of how a University came to be founded on the east coast of Scotland in the 15th century and of those who have since left St Andrews to change the world – including some of the greatest poets of the Scottish Renaissance, James Gregory who invented the reflecting telescope, and Sir James Black, the pharmacological pioneer who discovered beta blockers, and James Wilson who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

In an exclusive interview with student newspaper The Saint published this month Sir Sean Connery reflected on a recent conversation with Henry Kissinger: “I’ve never met anybody, for all their knowledge about America, who knew that it was a Scotsman [James Wilson] who changed ‘We the state’, to ‘We the people’ [in the United States Constitution]’.

Interested alumni are invited to register their event proposals. The challenge set is for St Andrews alumni to spread the story of St Andrews, and to use their screening events to contribute to the 600th Anniversary Campaign. Successful applicants will be sent a copy of the film together with supporting materials (including invitation templates and donation boxes).  Showings can take place anywhere from a living room to a cinema, a laptop on a hilltop to a boat on the Nile, from a car park to a great hall. The only requirement is that alumni and their guests should find a way to help towards the aim of raising a total of £75,000, to support a Sir Sean Connery Scholarship Fund, over the course of the world-wide film weekend.

As Sean Connery commented in his interview with The Saint: “If there ever was a time, a need for education, a genuine education, it’s now”.

Film Director Murray Grigor said: “Our film should encourage all good alumni to come to the aid of their Alma Mater to help fund the next 600 years.”

Already Alumni Clubs in Hong Kong, Vienna and Los Angeles have signed up to take part and organise their own special showings.

To submit a screening proposal go to:


Notes to News Editors

The University of St Andrews 600th Anniversary spans three calendar years from 2011 to 2013. It 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.

For details of the University’s 600th Anniversary Campaign go to:

Sir Sean Connery’s interview with student newspaper The Saint was published on Thursday 7 March 2013 and will be available at:

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