St Andrews honours

Thursday 6 November 2014

One of the founders of Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit, an award winning theatre set designer, a renowned translator and Professor of Classics, and the former principal of the Royal Conservatoire will be awarded honorary degrees by the University of St Andrews later this month.

The St Andrew’s Day graduation ceremony will be held on Monday December 1, 2014 in Younger Hall; when students will receive their awards alongside honorary graduates:

•             John Carnochan OBE QPM FFPH – co-founder of Scotland’s Violence Reduction Unit, and specialist consultant at the University of St Andrews

•             Bunny Christie – born and schooled in St Andrews; Christie is the first women to receive not only the Olivier award for theatre set design, but also the Evening Standard and Critics Circle Award for best designer

•             Professor Anne Carson – poet, essayist, translator and Professor of Classics

•             Professor John Wallace – Emeritus Professor Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The work of one of the University of St Andrews’ longest serving cleaners will also be recognised during the ceremony, when Catherine Robertson will receive a prestigious University Medal. Mrs Robertson worked as a Cleaner with the University of St Andrews for 38 years, from 1976 until her retirement in 2014.

Prof Kristin De Troyer, Dean of Arts & Divinity, said:

“In my opinion, Mrs Robertson symbolises the excellence of our university and of all its staff. By awarding Mrs Robertson the University Medal the University is honouring not just Mrs Robertson but all the countless colleagues who silently contribute to the success of the University of St Andrews.”

Helen Mackie, Assistant Director of Estates, said:

“I am delighted that Cathie is the first member of Estates to receive the University Medal as it recognises the work and dedication that is provided by a number of “unsung heroes” within our team.

“Through a great deal of change in structures and staffing over the period of her appointment; Cathie always maintained a positive work ethic and a friendly demeanour.

“She took great pride in doing a good job and is held in high regard by her former colleagues, line managers and students alike and will be missed in the unit by us all. “

Cathie Smith Robertson was born on 2 August 1942 at Boghall Farm, Kingsbarns and attended both Kingsbarns Primary School and St Andrews Burgh School which she left at the age of 15 to work for Mrs Taylor’s Ltd, Ladies Outfitters in South Street, St Andrews. She married Bill in 1964 and this year they celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary. She has two daughters and two grandsons. Catherine spent most of her married life in Kingsbarns and Boarhills, moving to Crail in 2003 where she currently lives.


Photo-calls with Cathie Robertson and the honorary graduates will take place in St Salvator’s Quadrangle, North Street, St Andrews after each ceremony. Ceremonies are expected to take 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Cathie Robertson will receive her medal, and John Carnochan will graduate, in the first ceremony of the day (0930 hours).

Bunny Christie will graduate in the second ceremony of the day (1215 hours).

Anne Carson and John Wallace will graduate in the third ceremony of the day (1530 hours).

Embargoed laureation and graduation addresses will be available.

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