Birthday messages pour in for Scotland’s oldest university

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AS Scotland’s oldest university launches its 600th anniversary campaign today (Fri), tributes have been pouring in from supporters across the globe.

Louise Richardson, the principal and vice chancellor of the University of St Andrews, received messages from the likes of Bill Clinton, Sean Connery and Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust.

The former president of the United States said: “Congratulations to all those gathered to launch the 600th anniversary of the University of St Andrews.

“In its six-century history, the University of St Andrews has remained dedicated to creating an academic home for people of all ethnic, religious, socio-economic and national backgrounds.

“As new generations of students have entered its halls, the school has adapted to serve new interests and emerging areas of study.

“But throughout its history, St Andrews has remained true to values of academic excellence for which it was established.

“I’d like to thank this fine school for creating opportunities for students from around the world to study in Scotland.”

Bond star Sean Connery, an honorary graduate of the university, said the institution was “dear to his heart”.

He said: “There is nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in man, and for six centuries St Andrews has been challenging established wisdom and challenging its students and teachers to push the boundaries of knowledge.

“Scotland has a few precious claims to be world class – her first university is one of them.

“This university will always be dear to my heart and I’m proud to be an honorary graduate of a place where good is never good enough.

“Ever to be the best. Happy Birthday St Andrews, lang may your lum reek.”

And Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, highlighted the importance of St Andrews around the world.

He said: “The University of St Andrews is globally recognised as an institution of academic excellence and it is important that we celebrate its achievements and proud history.

“As a St Andrews graduate, I am delighted to support the University’s 600th Anniversary celebrations and appeal.

“The Appeal aims to create scholarship opportunities which will help young people, of all backgrounds, have the opportunity to study at Scotland’s oldest University.”

Professor Richardson announced a new scholarship of up to £70,000, created in honour of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which will be open to applicants from all nationalities.

Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust also offered his congratulations in a message to Professor Richardson.

He said: “This magnificent milestone will deservedly be the cause of tremendous celebration for everyone associated with this storied place of learning.

“Six centuries of academic excellence, a still growing record of groundbreaking contributions in medicine, astronomy and mathematics, and an intellectual roster that has included minds as varied as John Stuart Mill and J.M Barrie are distinctions unique to St Andrews but from which every university can take inspiration.

“The students and alumni of St Andrews can be proud of their alma mater’s reputation as not only one of the world’s oldest institutions of higher learning, but as a truly twenty-first century university with a diverse and international student body and faculty.”

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