University honours female academics

Friday 28 November 2008

The University of St Andrews has highlighted the role of women in its history with the unveiling of two new portraits.

By committing their faces to canvas, the University has paid tribute to two of its most celebrated female members of staff.

The portraits of Dr Kathleen (Kay) MacIver, Master of the United College (1984-1988) and Ms Ann Kettle, Dean of Arts (1998-2002) will be displayed in Lower College Hall in recognition of their outstanding service to the University.

Both paintings are the work of Colin Dunbar, an Edinburgh-based artist whose past commissions include portraits of the poet George Bruce (1999 and 2000), the actress Edith McArthur (2000) and former Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Sir Kenneth Dover (2005).

The University has a large collection of portraits but, until these two new paintings were commissioned, its only female portraits were of family members (wives or daughters) of past male members of staff.

Principal, Dr Brian Lang, said, “The University was keen to recognise, in an appropriate manner, just what women are, and have been, contributing to the University throughout its history.

“Last year, we located the funding to commission these new portraits which are a fitting tribute to these two female academics who gave so much to the University during their time here.”

Dr Kay MacIver was appointed to the Department of Geography in 1953 and spent the rest of her career at St Andrews.  In 1980 she became the first woman Dean of Arts in the history of the University and in 1984 the first woman Master of the United College.

Ann Kettle’s long career with the University, where she lectured in the Department of Mediaeval History from 1964 until her retirement, culminated with her appointment as the second female Dean of Arts in 1998.  She was the holder of many posts throughout her time at St Andrews including Chair of the Board of the Students’ Association and Hebdomadar.  In 2002, she received an OBE for services to Higher Education.

Prior to this commission, the University’s most recent acquisitions were those of Christina Watson, wife of Revd Archibald Campbell, Professor of Divinity and Ecclesiastical History in St Mary’s College (1730-1756) and Ann Burnett, daughter of Archbishop Burnett, late 17th Century Chancellor of the University.  The portrait of Ann Burnett is now displayed in the new Museum of the University of St Andrews which was opened this week by Dr Ian Rankin OBE.

Professor Ian Carradice, Keeper of University Museum Collections commented, “St Andrews pioneered women’s higher education in the Victorian period, so it is good that our portrait collection is now beginning to reflect the contribution women have since made to teaching in this University.”


NOTE TO EDITORS: Professor Ian Carradice is available for interview on Tel: 01334 462402 or E-mail: [email protected]

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: [email protected]
Ref:  Portraits  27/11/08
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