New St Andrews Rector to be installed

Thursday 15 March 2012

The new Lord Rector of the University of St Andrews will be officially installed at an historic ceremony in the town next week (Tuesday 20 March 2012).

Alistair Moffat follows in the footsteps of luminaries such as Peter Pan author J M Barrie, Jungle Book creator Rudyard Kipling and comedian John Cleese.

The official event will take place after the traditional student ‘drag’ on Monday (19 March), where students take the new Rector on an epic six-hour tour of student halls and local hostelries.

The mode of transport for the arrival of the new Rector to the drag is a closely-guarded secret.  Historically, new Rectors arrive in a novel manner – former St Andrews Rector Clement Freud was ‘delivered’ to the University in 2003 by Royal Mail.

Mr Moffat, author and Director of the Lennoxlove and Borders Book Festivals, is the University’s 51st Rector.  He took up office in October last year after beating off competition from Lord Michael Forsyth, Colin Fox, Abeer Macintyre and Pat Nevin in an intensive week-long election campaign.

When Mr Moffat took up the three year position, he replaced outgoing Rector Kevin Dunion, the former Scottish Information Commissioner.  His period of office will span the University’s 600th Anniversary celebrations which run from 2011 to 2013.

The position of Rector is an important and unique role which exists only in four Scottish ancient universities – St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – and in Dundee. The Rector represents the students of St Andrews and takes the Chair of Court, the supreme governing body of the University.

The first Rector of St Andrews was Sir Ralph Anstruther of Balcaskie, who took up post in 1859.  He was followed soon after by John Stuart Mill (1865), Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig (1916), Sir James Matthew Barrie (1919), Rudyard Kipling (1922), Fridtjof Nansen (1925) and Jan Christian (‘General’) Smuts (1931).

Decades later, the seventies uniquely saw a host of famous British personalities take on the role, with John Cleese, Alan Coren, Frank Muir and Tim Brooke-Taylor all holding the position of St Andrews Rector.

Mr Moffat will be officially installed by the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson.  It will be a return visit to the stage of the Younger Hall for Alistair, who graduated with a degree in medieval history from St Andrews in 1972.


Note to Editors

Alistair Moffat is available for interview in advance of his installation via Kate Andrews – email [email protected]
He will also be available 1pm – 3pm on Tuesday and immediately after the ceremony.

Strictly embargoed addresses will be available from the Press Office in advance – contacts below.

Note to Picture Editors

The official photocall will take place immediately after (approx 5pm) the installation on Tuesday 20 March on St Salvator’s Quadrangle, North Street, St Andrews.  If you would like inside the Younger Hall, please contact the Press Office in advance – contacts below.

A detailed timetable and route for Monday’s drag is also available from the Press Office.

Images of Alastair Moffat and previous Lord Rectors are available from the Press Office – contacts below.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Communications Manager, on 01334 467227, email [email protected]
Ref: Rector installation 150312

Category University news

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