Five names from the worlds of politics, broadcasting, literature and sport are in the running for the position of Rector at the University of St Andrews.
Michael Forsyth, Colin Fox, Abeer Macintyre, Alistair Moffat and Pat Nevin are all poised to take on the historic role for the next three years.
The successful candidate will follow in the footsteps of luminaries such as Peter Pan author J M Barrie, Jungle Book creator Rudyard Kipling and comedian John Cleese.
The position of Rector is an important and unique role held only in four Scottish ancient universities – St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – and Dundee. The Rector acts on behalf of the students of St Andrews and chairs Court, the supreme governing body of the University.
From 6pm tonight the campaign teams for each candidate will hit the streets of St Andrews, with each candidate expecting to turn out for the traditional ‘hecklings’ next week. Students will be able to vote online from 12pm on Wednesday (26 October) until 5pm on Friday of next week (28th October). Computerised polling stations will run from the Students’ Association, Physics Building and Library for one day only on Friday 28th of October.
The new Rector will follow in the footsteps of current Rector, the Scottish Information Commissioner Kevin Dunion and, uniquely, will span the University’s 600th anniversary celebrations.
President of the Students’ Association Patrick O’Hare commented, “St Andrews has a great tradition of accomplished, working Rectors who have represented students well and served the University community.
“I am delighted to see that this year the calibre of the candidates again does not disappoint. Living up to the standard of current Rector Kevin Dunion will be difficult, but the set of candidates have already achieved great things in their field, be that politics, journalism, literature or sport.
“The fact that students are posing as many as five candidates is testament to their commitment to the role of Rector, and I am sure that students will turn out in their thousands to endorse the individuals involved.
“In a difficult time for higher education and students, the role of the Rector is thus more important than ever. I look forward to a week of frenzied and colourful campaigning as the teams take to the streets to promote their candidates, and have faith that the student body will elect a Rector who is worthy of this institution and its students.”
The first Rector of St Andrews was Sir Ralph Anstruther of Balcaskie, who took up post in 1859. He was followed soon after by John Stuart Mill (1865), Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig (1916), Sir James Matthew Barrie (1919), Rudyard Kipling (1922), Fridtjof Nansen (1925), Jan Christian (‘General’) Smuts (1931).
Decades later, the seventies uniquely saw a host of famous British personalities take on the role, with John Cleese, Alan Coren, Frank Muir and Tim Brooke-Taylor all holding the position of St Andrews Rector. In more recent years, Sir Clement Freud was Rector from 2002 to 2005.
The name of the successful candidate will be announced on the evening of Friday 28 October. They will take up post immediately and will be formally inducted at a special ceremony in Spring 2012.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
STATEMENTS FROM EACH OF THE CANDIDATES WILL BE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT 6PM TONIGHT.
STUDENT PRESIDENT PATRICK O’HARE IS AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT ON 07752 376 089, EMAIL email@example.com
NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:
IMAGES OF FORMER RECTORS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE, CONTACTS BELOW.
Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Senior Communications Manager on 01334 467227, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ref: Rector 201011