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Permanent tribute to Benjamin Franklin

A permanent tribute to American scientist Benjamin Franklin is to be unveiled in St Andrews tomorrow (Wednesday 30 October 2002).

As part of a European tour recognising Franklin’s journeys, 60 Daughters of the American Revolution will unveil the plaque on North Street, St Andrews, together with representatives from the University and Fife Council.

In 1759, Benjamin Franklin was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University and the City of St Andrews granted him the Freedom of the Burgh. He went onto become a world-renowned scientist, philosopher, printer, writer, inventor, and statesman.

Professor Keith Brown said, “In 1759, the reputation of the University of St Andrews was at a very low ebb, but it still had the vision and the international perspective to award Benjamin Franklin an honorary degree in recognition of his experimental work on electricity. Surprisingly, he made the journey to Scotland to attend the ceremony, later writing of his experience that had he not so many commitments elsewhere – saying, ‘I believe Scotland would be the country I should chose to spend the remainder of my days in’. Franklin was later to play a major role in the foundation of the United States of America and, to this day, the University maintains very strong links with North America.”

The plaque unveiling ceremony will be attended by the 60 Daughters; Convener of Fife Council Mr Dair, University Principal and Vice- Chancellor Dr Brian Lang; Professor Keith Brown and President General of DAR, Mrs Linda Tinker-Watkins. A lecture on Franklin’s Scottish visits will then be given by Professor Keith Brown followed by the group enjoying an historical tour of St Andrews.

President General of DAR, Mrs Linda Tinker-Watkins said, “The National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, has as one of its objectives preserving the history of the founding of the United States. The current programme is focused on the First Envoys of the United States, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams. These two men represented the colonies, and later the United States, to many countries in Europe including England, France and The Netherlands.

“Benjamin Franklin’s work as an envoy began in 1757 when he was appointed as a representative of the Pennsylvania Assembly to press King George III and Parliament to approve the Assembly’s request to tax the lands of William Penn. This began 16 years of service in London. Franklin’s extensive research on electricity and other scientific subjects led to the award of an honorary doctorate at the University of St Andrews in 1759 which we are recognising today. He also received the freedom of the City of St Andrews. It is my pleasure and honor to present this marker recognising the award of an honorary degree and the freedom of the City of St Andrews to Benjamin Franklin.”

Nearly 786,000 members have joined the NSDAR since it was founded. There are now over 170,000 members in chapters in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, France Mexico and Japan.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS – You are invited to send a reporter/photographer to the unveiling of the plaque at 10am on Wednesday 30 October 2002 at the railings outside St Salvator’s Chapel, North Street, St Andrews.

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- andrews.ac.uk View University press releases on- line at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: dar/standrews/chg/29oct2002

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