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New St Andrews halls to be named after female pioneers

Powell and Whitehorn Halls
Artist’s impression of Powell and Whitehorn Halls

Two new student halls of residence in St Andrews are to be named after inspiring female figures with strong connections to the town’s ancient university.

St Andrews will honour the American golfing pioneer Renee Powell and the British journalist Katharine Whitehorn, by naming a new residence after each.

The new halls, at North Haugh and St Leonard’s Road in St Andrews, are part of a £70 million investment in student accommodation by the University which will create 900 new bedrooms over and above the 4000 which the University already provides.

Powell Hall, which has 205 rooms, and Whitehorn Hall, which has 184 rooms, are due to open in October this year.

Renee Powell
Honorary Graduate Renee Powell

Renee Powell is an American professional golfer and the second African American woman ever to play on the LPGA Tour. She began her professional career in 1967, playing in more than 250 tournaments around the world. Since 1980 she has taught golf in the United States, Africa and Europe and is currently head professional golfer at Clearview Golf Course in Ohio.

‌Renee is known for her work to attract more young female golfers to the sport and in 2008 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University. Renee also gave a guest lecture at the University about the ways sport can positively impact young people’s lives and supports the annual ladies golf tournament which now bears her name.

Renee said: “To receive such an unbelievable honour and to forever be a part of one of the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom is too difficult to express in words.

“I have always considered myself as a citizen of the world and I guess now I will forever be remembered as such. I feel this is truly an historic and awesome occasion for a renowned university to recognize a black American female golfer in such a manner. It says so much about the vision and heart of the leadership.”

Rector Katharine Whitehorn
Former Rector Katharine Whitehorn

Katharine Whitehorn is a British writer and columnist famous for her wit and observations on the changing role of women. She wrote for Picture Post and was a staff columnist on the Observer for 36 years, widely read and admired for her wisdom, courage and sense of perspective. Until recently, she was a regular columnist and contributor to both the Observer and The Guardian. She was a member of the Latey Committee on the Age of Majority in the UK, the body which recommended the voting age should be lowered from 21 to 18.

In 1982, students at St Andrews voted to install her as Rector, the first woman to hold the post at St Andrews, and the first in Scotland.

In her address to students in the Younger Hall, she said: “The fact that St Andrews has the first woman rector in Scotland says something for your open-mindedness… even if one or two of the more unreconstructed members of the (men only) Kate Kennedy Club do think it is the most curious appointment since the Emperor Caligula made his horse a Consul.”

Powell Hall is five-storeys high and adjacent to Agnes Blackadder Hall on the North Haugh, while Whitehorn Hall is four-storeys, adjacent to University Hall in Kennedy Gardens and located very near the Sports Centre.

All the rooms have en-suite facilities and the new halls will offer a range of facilities including games rooms, music rooms, cinema rooms, study spaces, dining room and kitchen/lounges.

Renee Powell will visit St Andrews on September 19 when she will cut a ribbon at the hall which will bear her name.


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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