A University of St Andrews academic has been granted one of the world’s oldest Civil awards.
Dr David Gascoigne, an Honorary Senior Lecturer in French, has been made a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Knight of the Order of Academic Excellence) by the French Republic.
The award, originally created by Napoleon, was made in recognition of Dr Gascoigne’s outstanding contribution to French Studies and to the dissemination and understanding of French culture.
Originally created by Napoleon to reward excellence in services to education, the honour is most often awarded to a select elite of French nationals. Dr Gascoigne is the only recipient in recent years from a Scottish university.
Dr Gascoigne’s investiture took place at a glittering reception in the Residence of the French Ambassador in London. The signature medal and purple ribbon of the Palmes Académiques were conferred by the French Ambassador, Son Excellence M. Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, on behalf of the French Minister of Education.
The Ambassador praised Dr Gascoigne’s brilliant teaching, innovative courses and excellent scholarship, mentioning in particular his two most important books, Michel Tournier and The Games of Fiction.
Dr Gascoigne, who arrived in St Andrews in 1975, retired as Senior Lecturer in 2007. On top of his teaching and research, he was Head of French; chaired or participated in a range of School and University committees and undertook stints as acting Head of School and Director of Teaching.
Beyond the University, Dr Gascoigne was heavily involved in the establishment of the St Andrews – Loches alliance.
His colleague at the Department of French, Professor Lorna Milne, commented, “David Gascoigne is a man of the highest standards in all things, and is an inspiration in French Studies and beyond. He has the warmest congratulations of all his colleagues on receiving this rare award from the French Government.”
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Ref: French knight 160210
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