St Andrews graduate’s pipe dream comes true

Thursday 16 June 2022

A St Andrews graduate made history today as the first student to pipe his own academic success at graduation (Thursday 16 June).

The Chancellor’s Piper, Alistair Robinson from Galashiels, graduated from the University of St Andrews today with an MA (Hons) Modern History, then piped the procession through the town after his own ceremony.

The Chancellor’s Piper plays at official University events and graduations, leading the new graduates and academic procession from the Younger Hall to St Salvator’s Quad after each ceremony.

Alistair said: “I have been playing the bagpipes for twelve years now, since my Dad first started teaching me. I can never say thank you enough to him as it has provided me with so many wonderful opportunities, such as serving as the Chancellor’s Bagpiper. I was appointed in November 2020 during Covid, and so my first official duty was to play in a recording for virtual graduation. It was so unique but totally worthwhile as I hope it provided a bit of normality for those graduating in such bizarre times.

Alistair with the Chancellor, The Rt Hon the Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH CBE QC FRSE

“Since then, I have been lucky enough to play for in-person graduation ceremonies, graduation dinners, Burns suppers, and various fundraising events. This role has given me experiences and memories I will forever remember and so I would like to thank the University for providing me with this opportunity.”

Speaking about his time at the University of St Andrews, Alistair added: “It has been nothing short of incredible, unique, amazing. Those are only three words I can use. What an unbelievable experience I have had here, and I am so fortunate and grateful for it. I have made best friends for life and found so many wonderful people, people who I will forever love and remain close to. That is St Andrews for you!

“Alongside my studying, and my bagpiping, many highlights from my time at St Andrews come from the University Football Club. I am forever in debt to the club for helping me find people who are some of the best I have and will ever meet. I was lucky enough to serve as president in my final year and it was a fitting end to a simply fantastic four years.”

From left: Alistair’s partner, Eva Clark, University Chancellor The Rt Hon the Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, Alistair, Mum Lainey Robinson and Dad Stuart Robinson

Alistair is continuing his studies at the University following his graduation, returning in autumn to complete his Masters: “I would say to anyone who is considering studying at St Andrews to go for it. It is the best decision I have ever made. Four years isn’t enough, so I am doing a Masters next year. What a wonderful place, full of wonderful people, where I have had the best four years I could have asked for. It is a fitting end to my four years playing the bagpipes at my own graduation ceremony, a piece of history I believe, even more so fitting considering I study History!”

Graduates from over 80 countries, including Scotland, Ukraine, India, Germany and the USA will gather in St Andrews for the graduation ceremonies which continue until the end of June.

Graduation ceremonies

Honorary Graduates

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

Category Student experience

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