University of St Andrews alumnus honours Principal

Wednesday 28 June 2023
Professor Dame Sally Mapstone DBE FRSE
Professor Dame Sally Mapstone DBE FRSE at Windsor Castle. Photo: M. Griffiths.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of St Andrews, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone DBE FRSE, was awarded a Damehood today (Wednesday 28 June) at Windsor Castle by University of St Andrews alumnus, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

The Principal was made a Dame in the Queen’s final Birthday Honours List in June 2022 in recognition of her services to Higher Education. A lifelong champion of diversity and efforts to widen access to higher education, she has led on key widening access initiatives for Universities Scotland, helping to increase the numbers of students from disadvantaged and care-experienced backgrounds attending, and succeeding at, universities north and south of the border.

After being presented with the honour, the Principal briefly chatted with the Prince about his time at St Andrews. The Prince and Princess of Wales last visited the University in May 2021 to meet students to learn about how they have coped and supported each other during the pandemic. The visit culminated in the alumni planting the first tree for the St Andrews Forest, one of the key initiatives in the University’s action plan to become carbon neutral by 2035. The Forest now has more than 10,000 trees planted, most of which in Fife.

The Principal is a celebrated medievalist, and a leading figure in Scottish and UK higher education policy development and reform.

She is Convener of Universities Scotland and will take up the role of President of Universities UK in August this year. The Principal is Chair of the Higher Education Policy Institute, Vice-Chair of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland. She has chaired the International Advisory Board for the University of Helsinki, is a trustee of the Europaeum, and was the first UK university leader to receive a medal from the US Foreign Policy Association of America for her international leadership in higher education.

Professor Mapstone is the first female President of the Saltire Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Professor Mapstone’s academic specialism is medieval and early modern Scottish literature and book history. She has written and edited eight books on Older Scots and Middle English literature and published numerous articles and essays.

Appointed Principal of St Andrews in 2016, she steered Scotland’s oldest university to first place in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022, the first time any university has broken the 30-year Oxbridge duopoly at the top of UK university rankings.

The University of St Andrews is top in the UK for student academic experience in the National Student Survey for the 14th time in the past 16 years.

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