Kathleen M Patrick
Citation by Professor Ronald Piper
Vice-Principal (Governance & Planning)
Tuesday 19 June 2012
Vice-Chancellor, I have the honour to present for the award of the University Medal Kathleen Patrick, member of the University Court.
When people think of ‘the University’, some think of those in front of me, the students of the University, and others think of those behind me, the staff of the University. But underpinning, and enabling, the activities of both is a small group of very committed trustees who make up the University’s governing body, the University Court. And few amongst even these have a record of commitment to the University to match that of the person whom we are honouring today.
Kathleen Patrick is herself a graduate of St Andrews, having received her MA in 1965, marking the third generation of her family to attend the University. On leaving St Andrews, she went to Edinburgh to take a law degree, as preparation for a distinguished career in the Civil Service. Even though her career took her away from St Andrews, her commitment as a graduate to her first university remained strong. And, as you will see, she got involved, as we hope that many of you who graduate today may also do.
Some of this involvement was to support the many activities that are open to graduates of the University. She has regularly given her time and skills to activities sponsored by our Office of Development and Alumni Relations, attending events regularly, assisting with alumni reunions, and taking part in carol services (to name a few). She is a member of several clubs for former students – the After Many Days Club, the University Hall Graduates’ Association, and the Edinburgh branch of the University Women’s Association. She is a Friend of the University Library and has been a regular donor to a large range of University projects over the last 20 years.
In 1995, however, her investment of time and interest escalated to a much higher level. In that year she began what was to be an extraordinary period of 16 years’ service on the University Court. A standard term is 4 years, and rarely do members serve more than 8 years. Kathleen, however, served two terms as a co-opted member of Court, took a year off, and came back to serve two terms as an assessor to Court elected by the General Council (the alumni of the University). During this period she convened the Student Services Committee for four years and served on the Finance Committee, the Remuneration Committee, the Investment & Property Committee, the Staff Committee, the Equal Opportunities Committee, the Planning & Resources Committee, the Audit Committee and the Governance & Nominations Committee. In addition, she served on numerous working groups, grievance and disciplinary panels, promotion boards and staff appointment panels. By any measure this has been an outstanding contribution to the good governance of the University. And if this were not enough to keep her busy, for the last fourteen years she has also served as a member of the General Council’s Business Committee and as Convener of the General Council’s Committee on the Alumnus Association (which produces the alumni magazine, the Alumnus Chronicle, which you as new graduates will soon be receiving). With the coming of the 600th Anniversary, it should be no surprise also to find that she was asked to serve on the first group set up to advise on the 600th.
While this list sets out the ‘hard data’ describing Kathleen’s contribution to the University, it can hardly do justice to the quality of what she has offered. In countless practical ways, whether on a committee or not, she has dedicated time and energy to help deliver both the University’s academic mission and the wider St Andrews experience that we all treasure so greatly. What happens here at the University really matters to Kathleen. To all of her activities she has brought a remarkable attention to detail and enthusiasm, aided by an institutional memory that few can match. If part of the role of a trustee is to foster the long-term interests of the University, then it can be rightly claimed that Kathleen has embraced those responsibilities with truly exceptional skill and dedication.
Sadly, this summer marks the end of what we believe will be Kathleen’s final term on the University Court. Few of us believe that this will mark the end of her service to the University, but (as you might expect) it is a defining moment both for her and for Court.
Vice-Chancellor, in recognition of the time, expertise and enthusiasm that she has committed to the University over the 47 years since she sat in this hall as a new graduate, and in particular over the past 16 years on the University Court, I invite you to confer upon Kathleen Patrick the award by which we recognise extraordinary service to the University, the University Medal.Awards