US Ambassador opens £8m arts building

Wednesday 13 August 2008

The new £8 million home to experts in international security, terrorism and peace studies at the University of St Andrews was opened today (Wednesday 13 August 2008) by the US ambassador to the UK.

The Honourable Robert Tuttle officially opened the Arts Building, a modern new build occupied by the University’s School of International Relations and five prestigious research centres.

Ambassador Tuttle, accompanied by his wife Maria and Ms Lisa Vickers, Principal Officer in the US Consulate in Edinburgh, unveiled a plaque in the foyer to mark the official opening of the purpose-built new building.

During his opening speech, Ambassador Tuttle said, “It is an honour to have been invited to open and dedicate this building.  There is a long list of disciplines associated with this important building.  It is fascinating to note, for example, that the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence will co-exist with the Centre of Peace and Conflict studies, providing hope for us all.

“The University of St Andrews is renowned for its international outlook and this is demonstrated by the number of students it attracts from outwith the United Kingdom.

“As well as having a significant number of students from the US, it boasts connections with Americans such as Benjamin Franklin and Bobby Jones.  This is a link to be celebrated and I would like to thank the University for inviting me to open such an important building.”

St Andrews was the first University in Scotland to establish a School of International Relations and its academics remain at the forefront of explaining conflict and cooperation in the modern world.  Research spans Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa and recent developments include the launch of an innovative distance learning degree in terrorism and the world’s first Syrian research centre.  The School is also home to one of the world’s oldest centres for the study of terrorism, which advises governments, the armed forces and the international business community.

Centres and Institutes housed within the new building are:

  • The Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence
  • The Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
  • The Institute for Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Caucasus Studies
  • The Institute for Iranian Studies
  • The Centre for Syrian Studies

Situated next to the University library, the Arts Building is the first University building to be constructed in the centre of St Andrews for 30 years.

The cost of the build was partly met by donations totalling nearly £1.5m, a substantial amount of which came from US donors – the University having long-standing links with the US.

The building displays a modern twist on a collegiate style and is one of the new generation of University of St Andrews’ buildings which contrast with the iconic ancient buildings scattered across the town. Its construction brought about a move to state of the art unified facilities for staff within the School of International Relations. Teaching and research facilities are provided as well as space for staff and Arts postgraduates.

University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Dr Brian Lang said, “St Andrews is a leader in the study of those subjects housed within this impressive new building.  It is fitting that the staff and students involved should have an appropriate home, but the building being opened today also helps to demonstrate the international role that is played by the University of St Andrews.  We are pleased to be an institution that projects Scotland onto the world stage.”








Background on the Ambassador



Robert Holmes Tuttle, 65, was sworn in as Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s on 14 July 2005.

A businessman with extensive experience in the private sector, Ambassador Tuttle was co-Managing Partner of Tuttle-Click Automotive Group, one of the larger automobile dealer organisations in the United States. Ambassador Tuttle has served on the boards of several prominent civic organizations, including the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation, the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art where he was Chairman from 2001 to 2004.

Ambassador Tuttle began a second career in the public sector when he joined the White House staff in 1982 as Special Assistant to President Reagan. In 1985 President Reagan appointed him Director of Presidential Personnel, a position he held until the end of the Administration. By Presidential appointment Ambassador Tuttle served on the Board of Directors of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars for four years.




Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Marion Gibson / Gayle Cook on 01334 462167 / 7227
Ref:  Arts opening 110808
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