University installs 51st rector


THE new Lord Rector of the University of St Andrews will be officially installed at an historic ceremony in the town today.

Alistair Moffat follows in the footsteps of luminaries such as Peter Pan author J M Barrie, Jungle Book creator Rudyard Kipling and comedian John Cleese.

The official event takes place after the traditional student ‘drag’ yesterday, where students took the new Rector on an epic six-hour tour of student halls and local hostelries.


Alistair Moffat is the 51st rector at St Andrews

The mode of transport for the arrival of the new Rector to the drag is traditionally a closely-guarded secret.

Historically, new Rectors arrive in a novel manner – former St Andrews Rector Clement Freud was ‘delivered’ to the University in 2003 by Royal Mail.

Mr Moffat arrived in St Andrews on a horse before being ‘dragged’ around town in a carriage by the University blues.

Mr Moffat, author and Director of the Lennoxlove and Borders Book Festivals, is the University’s 51st Rector.  He took up office in October last year after beating off competition from Lord Michael Forsyth, Colin Fox, Abeer Macintyre and Pat Nevin in an intensive week-long election campaign.

When Mr Moffat took up the three year position, he replaced outgoing Rector Kevin Dunion, the former Scottish Information Commissioner.  His period of office will span the University’s 600th Anniversary celebrations which run from 2011 to 2013.

Will and Kate met at the University

The position of Rector is an important and unique role which exists only in four Scottish ancient universities – St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – and in Dundee. The Rector represents the students of St Andrews and takes the Chair of Court, the supreme governing body of the University.

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) and 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.

Mr Moffat will be officially installed by the University’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson.  It will be a return visit to the stage of the Younger Hall for Alistair, who graduated with a degree in medieval history from St Andrews in 1972.


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