Rector’s traditional ‘drag’ returns to town
Dr Leyla Hussein OBE participated in the traditional ‘Rector’s drag’ today (Thursday 14 April) ahead of her formal installation as the 54th Rector of the University of St Andrews.
Students joined the new Rector on a ‘pub-hop’ through the town on the evening of Wednesday 13 April and today introduced her to St Andrews traditions in a day of celebration which included a pier walk and a procession through the town.
Dr Leyla Hussein OBE was elected Rector in November 2020 for a three-year term. A psychotherapist, campaigner and global leader on gender rights, she is the first black woman to become Rector of St Andrews.
Dr Hussein said: “Two productive, educational and energising years into my term as Rector, I am honoured to be partaking in the storied traditions of the ‘Rector’s Drag’ and formal installation ceremony.
“As Rector, it is my greatest honour and responsibility to represent student voices at the highest levels of decision making at this historic University. The entirety of my term as Rector has been committed to support for student advocacy and activism and dedicated to the great structural change that such work contributes to.
“To each student at this University who is demanding greater support, accessibility and inclusivity, I truly admire your contributions to the St Andrews community and hope to continue supporting your work in my final year as your Rector.”
Stella Maris, Rector’s Assessor, said: “Nearly two years ago, Leyla’s vision for the future of St Andrews brought energy and empowerment to this small Scottish town.
“Since then, I have worked alongside the Rector’s Committee to execute Leyla’s vision and, in partnership with the University, we have implemented the Emily Test and Do No Harm Framework, updated Report + Support, expanded the Rector’s Fund, and more.
“I hope that Leyla’s election and installation signifies that real change is coming in St Andrews, with a focus on the importance of representation.
“Upon Leyla’s installation, I look forward to continued work to support and celebrate every person and community represented here in St Andrews.”
Since 1858, the Rector has been elected by the students. Dr Hussein follows in the footsteps of a long list of illustrious former Rectors, including authors J M Barrie and Rudyard Kipling, Monty Python founding member John Cleese, Catherine Stihler MEP, and political activist Srdja Popovic. In addition to being Chair of the University Court, the highest governing body of the University, the Rector plays an informal, pastoral role for students.
The Rector’s Drag is led by, and organised by, students of the Rector’s Committee and traditionally provides an opportunity for the Rector to meet students.
During the drag Dr Hussein was transported in an e-bike Triobike trishaw, a form of transport only officially introduced to the UK in 2018 by pioneering charity Cycling Without Age Scotland.
Adrian McDowell, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Cycling Without Age Scotland, said: “Bringing together and serving all generations are important parts of what Cycling Without Age Scotland does.
“This celebration of a long-standing tradition of this world-famous institution by such inspiring students is a hugely exciting reflection of that and we are delighted to have played a part in it.”
The ‘drag’ is traditionally held in the days prior to the Rector’s Installation, which takes place tomorrow (Friday 15 April).
If any media wish to attend the formal installation ceremony of the Rector on Friday 15 April (the ceremony begins at 2.30pm and procession will take place afterwards), please contact the press office.
For more information about the role of the Rector visit the Students' Association website.
Issued on the behalf of Dr Leyla Hussein, Rector, and the Rector’s Committee by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.