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St Andrews academics recognised

Two academics from the University of St Andrews are among the recipients of awards in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours list.

Don Paterson, the acclaimed poet, musician and lecturer in poetry at the School of English, and Professor Richard Fawcett, an honorary research fellow in the School of Art History, have both been appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Don, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature has been awarded an OBE for his services to literature.

Born in Dundee, Don left school at sixteen to become a musician and did not begin training himself in the craft of poetry until his 20s. His first volume, Nil Nil burst upon the literary scene in 1993, and since then he has been awarded several prestigious awards including a Forward Prize, the Whitbread Poetry Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.  He has also been twice winner of the T S Eliot Prize.

As well as teaching on the University’s highly successful M Litt in Creative Writing, Paterson has been Poetry Editor at Picador/Macmillan since 1997.   His collections of poetry include God’s Gift to Women (1997), and Landing Light (2003).  He has also  edited a number of other publications, including 101 Sonnets (1999), and a selection of Robert Burns (2001).

Don, who was “throroughly surprised” to hear that his name had been put forward for an OBE, is currently working on a book about poetic composition, and a new book of poems, to be published next year. An accomplished jazz guitarist, Don continues to play solo and with his own ensemble.

Professor Fawcett, Principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Historic Scotland, was awarded an OBE for public and voluntary service.

After graduating with a BA in Art History from the University of East Anglia, Professor Fawcett became Trainee Assistant Keeper for Leeds City Art Galleries.  In 1974, he was employed as Assistant Inspector of Ancient Monuments for the Department of Environment (later Historic Scotland).  Professor Fawcett was elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in 1975 and completed his PhD on research of medieval masons in Norfolk from the University of East Anglia the following year.

Appointed Inspector of Ancient Monuments in 1976, he was promoted to Principal Inspector in 1988, a position he held until his retirement in 2006 and continues part-time.

Professor Fawcett has received many fellowships and honours for his research, including being elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE) in 1997.  He is currently working on an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded pilot project for a corpus of Scottish medieval parish churches, working alongside Dr Julian Luxford (St Andrews) and Professor Richard Oram (Stirling).

Meanwhile, Professor John Haldane from the School of Philosophy was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Glasgow.  Professor Haldane, who is Director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs at the University of St Andrews, was presented with a degree of Doctor of letters from the ancient Scottish university in a ceremony on their annual Commemoration Day ceremony alongside Scottish football legends John Greig and Billy McNeill, and actress Elaine C Smith.

Later this month Principal Dr Brian Lang will receive an honorary doctorate (Doctor honoris causa) from the University of Edinburgh.   The ceremony will be held on Monday 30th June at 11am.

ENDS

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