Principal recognises outstanding achievements

Wednesday 22 June 2016


In addition to crossing the stage of the Younger Hall to accept their degree certificates, two extraordinary students were honoured for their ‘outstanding achievements’ by the Acting Principal.

New graduates Fiona Woodhall and Saad Attieh were both awarded this year’s Principal’s Medal, which recognises exceptional endeavour and achievement during a student’s time at St Andrews.

Woodhall, newly graduated with a first-class Master’s Degree in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry, was recognised for her ‘selfless willingness to improve the experiences of others in St Andrews’.

In presenting her award, Acting Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Garry Taylor said of Woodhall: “Her academic brilliance is matched by an inspirational attitude towards life.”

In addition to committed service as a Class Representative in the School of Chemistry she has been heavily involved with the running of the Students’ Association, and particularly with the Entertainment Committee. Whether working on student drama, or helping organise RAG week, Fiona has played an invaluable role in ensuring the success of a multitude of events.

Woodhall will be going on to take up a place on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, and will be returning to Leeds General Infirmary for the first time since she received open-heart surgery when she was six years old.

She commented: “Working with the Students’ Association has been the most rewarding experience.”

Computer Science graduate Saad Attieh was recognised for his deep and thorough understanding of his subject.

His abstraction qualities have been described as ‘mesmerising’. Despite being fully blind, he can draw detailed diagrams, and simultaneously explain them to his audience. Enthusiastic, committed, and a fabulous musician, Saad has undertaken several prestigious internships while a student at St Andrews, and also won a number of prizes, including the Principal’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence (2015 to 2016).

The Acting Principal said: “Saad has been an inspiration to his tutors and fellow students.”

Attieh will be returning to St Andrews to study for his PhD. He said: “I’m really excited to be staying in St Andrews, and will do my PhD in Computer Science.”

Now in its seventh year the Principal’s Medal was inaugurated thanks to the generosity of three anonymous donors and its continued support is now possible due to a donation from Ede and Ravenscroft.

This fund allows awards to be made to students who display exceptional endeavour and achievement during their time at St Andrews. The awards are open to final-year undergraduates, and to postgraduates, in any discipline.

In his presentations, the Acting Principal said he was “honoured to have been given such a wonderful opportunity to recognise, publicly, the outstanding achievements of individual students”.

Notes to news editors

Images of Fiona and Saad are available; contact the Communications Office.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 462530 or via [email protected].

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