Town invited to join in academic celebration

Friday 6 September 2013


To celebrate 600 years of the University of St Andrews, the University is hosting a two-day Academic Celebration from September 13 to 14, 2013. These celebrations will climax with a £10,000 town-gown fireworks display, aimed at bringing academics, staff, students and the people of St Andrews together.

The display will start around 8.15pm on Saturday September 14 from the harbour pier. Members of the public are especially welcome to spectate from the recommended viewing area at the East Sands. For safety, paths adjacent to the pier and the cathedral will be closed temporarily.

The Academic celebrations will also include a number of historic processions, involving several hundred academics and dignitaries, at which all spectators are welcome:

  • Friday, 12 noon – The celebrations will begin with a private Service of Thanksgiving in Holy Trinity Church, South Street, St Andrews on Friday 13 September 2013 followed by the first of four processions – to St Salvator’s Quadrangle, North Street, at 12.00 noon.

    The University has worked closely with Fife Council and Police Scotland to minimise delays but for safety vehicles will be stopped while the procession passes with police officers controlling traffic at all junctions on route. Parking will not be suspended.

  • Friday, 1430 hours – The Academic procession into Younger Hall for the Honorary Graduation ceremony will leave Martyrs Kirk at 2.30pm and process along North Street into the hall. The procession will include all those to be honoured, including Former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, inventor of the world-wide web Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and Britain’s best-known classicist Professor Mary Beard.
  • Friday, 1730 hours – Honorary graduates will process from the University’s Younger Hall, down North Street and into St Salvator’s Quadrangle.
  • Saturday, 1945 hours – The Academic Celebration will conclude with a torch-lit procession, departing from St Salvator’s Quadrangle, North Street, at approximately 1945 hours to St Andrews Harbour for the fireworks display. The police will be in attendance and it is hoped that traffic delays will be minimal.

Professor Peter Clark said:

“We apologise for any inconvenience that may result from this event, but hope that the town of St Andrews joins with us in marking this important occasion, and that all our friends and neighbours enjoy what we intend will be a special atmosphere and a spectacular fireworks display.”

This will be one of the biggest celebrations of its kind in the town’s history. A 500th Anniversary Academic Celebration was held in 1911 attended by scholars and dignitaries including former prime minister AJ Balfour, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson the first Englishwoman to qualify as a physician and surgeon in Britain, Andrew Carnegie, and the then Secretary for Scotland and Governor of Madras Lord Pentland.

At that time there was an academic and civic procession ‘that filled the St Andrews streets with the rich rainbow colours of academic dress that well evoked the mediaeval schoolmen of their mutual past’ (James Colquhoun Irvine by Julia Melvin, 2011).

For its 600th Anniversary the University hopes to match this colourful display and involve as many friends and neighbours as possible.


For full details of the Academic Celebration go to:

The fireworks display has been funded by a generous donation.

Sadly space constraints have required that the Honorary Graduation Ceremony and Academic Summit be limited to staff, students, and invited guests. However both events will be made available on the University website, and the graduation ceremony will be streamed live on YouTube at:

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