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Rectorial Candidates 2011

New Rector nominations: Prepare to vote!

Nominations have closed and we can now reveal the candidates in the running for the position of Rector at St Andrews. They are:

The choice is now in YOUR HANDS. From 6pm tonight (Friday 21 October 2011) until 5pm next Friday (28 October 2011), the campaign teams for each candidate will hit the streets of St Andrews. Listen to what they have to say about their candidate and decide for yourself who gets your vote. Online voting will open at 12noon on Wednesday 26 October and will close strictly at 5pm on Friday 28 October 2011. You can vote from any computer anywhere in the world using your University ID, but in addition computerised polling stations will be run from the Students' Association, Physics Building and Library from 9am to 5pm on Friday 28 October.

The Rector is here to act on behalf of the students of St Andrews and presides over the University Court, the supreme governing body of the University. It’s an important and unique position held only in four Scottish ancient universities - St Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen – and Dundee.

The Rector is selected by registered students, postgraduates as well as undergraduates. The new Rector will follow in the footsteps of current Rector, Kevin Dunion, and famous names including Rudyard Kipling, J M Barrie and John Cleese. The Rector holds the position for three years and, uniquely, the winning candidate will span the University’s 600th anniversary celebrations. Most students will only have one opportunity to elect a Rector in their time at St Andrews, so use your vote wisely!

Each candidate’s personal statement is outlined below. You can vote online from Wednesday at noon via

Michael Forsyth

Michael Forsyth

Michael Forsyth is Deputy Chairman of Evercore Partners International, and a Director of J&J Denholm and NBNK Investments. He is a former Deputy Chairman at JPMorgan and Secretary of State for Scotland. He is a member of the Privy Council and the Development Board at the Royal Society. He was knighted in 1997 and appointed to the House of Lords in 1999.

When my campaign team approached me to stand as Rector, I thought of how much I owe to St Andrews. I arrived from school in Arbroath with many rough edges, mistaken ideas, and limited expectations. It changed my life and set me on the path that led to the Cabinet and a career in business and the City. St Andrews gave me lifelong friends, a love of debating, history, science, and mountaineering and some campaigning skills.

I hope to repay my debt by fighting for the interests of today’s students using all the skills and resources I can command.

St Andrews has come a long way since my day. It has twice as many students and a global reputation. Yet the sports facilities, library, Union and accommodation are in dire need of investment. I believe that in celebrating our 600th anniversary we must encourage business and philanthropists to invest in our great institution.

The Rector can be a powerful ambassador and force for change. I am proud of the University of St Andrews and would be honoured if you elect me to be your champion.

Colin Fox

Colin Fox

I believe education is a right not a privilege. As rector, I will prioritise the issues that students feel most passionate about. Working alongside your elected student representatives I pledge to ensure the University Court acts on your interests: -

  • Improving student standard of living
  • Campaigning for the widest possible access to education
  • Delivering better quality and affordable accommodation
  • Defending teaching quality by opposing cuts
  • Supporting sustainability throughout the university, including protecting ethical investment and endorsing renewable energy projects like the Kenly wind turbines

I have spent my life campaigning against injustice and inequality. I fully support LGBT rights, the peace movement, environmentalism and social justice.

My experience as a Member of the Scottish Parliament (2003-7) and as an activist make me uniquely qualified to achieve these aims. During my time in Scottish Parliament I put forward a bill to abolish prescription charges, which has subsequently come into effect, showing my commitment to pursue a cause until it is won. I am also the director of the Edinburgh People's Festival.

As rector I will hold weekly surgeries to ensure I am in contact with students and the issues you are concerned about. I believe in democratic accountability, and commit myself to report all decisions I take on your behalf.

I have frequently been involved in St Andrews student life, speaking at debates and attending society events. I am running for rector because I care about education and about a fairer and more sustainable society.

Abeer Macintyre

Abeer Macintyre

Abeer Macintyre is Head of Supporter Care at the Scottish charity Mary’s Meals and an award winning broadcaster and journalist.

Abeer was born in 1964 and grew up in Belfast. After studying English and Drama at the University of Kent at Canterbury, graduating in 1987, she worked in radio broadcasting, moving to BBC Scotland in 1994. There she received acclaim as the presenter of Good Morning Scotland, the station’s flagship radio programme, whilst also presenting many televised political and news programmes, including Newsnight Scotland, and working as an investigative journalist for Frontline Scotland. In 2009 she left the BBC to become lead fundraiser for Mary’s Meals, a charity which helps children in the developing world to realise their right to education by giving them a daily school meal. When Abeer assumed her key role, the charity fed 350,000 children every day; that figure now stands at almost 600,000. She lives in Clackmannanshire, an hour’s drive from St Andrews.

Abeer’s skills from broadcasting, and investigative journalism in particular, make her ideally suited to the Rector’s role of engaging with students, determining their views and championing them fearlessly at Court, motivated by her passion for a right to real access to education which she has pursued at Mary’s Meals. She pledges to be a working Rector, coupling regular visits with 21st century technology to give every student a voice in the development of the University’s future, focussing on both the student experience and transparency and dialogue between students and the University administration.

Alistair Moffat

Alistair Moffat

Alistair graduated from St Andrews in 1972, playing First XV rugby, First XI cricket, basketball and athletics, somehow acquiring a degree in mediaeval history between matches and training sessions, some in the Criterion. Most important, he met his wife, Lindsay, at a party on Lamond Drive. They married in St Salvator’s Chapel and two of their three children are also St Andrews graduates. A bouncer at the first St Andrews Arts Festival, Alistair went on to run the Edinburgh Fringe and built it into the largest arts festival in the world. Alistair hopes to bring his fundraising and wealth of other experience from the Fringe to bear on student issues like the Union and AU. In 1981 he moved into television, becoming Director of Programmes at STV and winning a BAFTA. Author of many books, he is now Director of the Borders and Lennoxlove Book Festivals. As Chancellor’s Assessor on Stirling University Court, he gained an intimate knowledge of Scottish universities issues. In 2011 he helped successfully argue for a lower RUK tuition fee at Stirling. “It is an honour, and sort of a homecoming”, Alistair said on being invited to run. “I really grew up in St Andrews. My family has a huge emotional investment in this place. If elected I will devote the time to actually be in St Andrews, to engage with student activities and student issues. I will do my utmost to represent the students, the university and all the wonderful things St Andrews stands for”.

Pat Nevin

Pat Nevin

Pat Nevin has played professionally in the top tiers of both English and Scottish football. Some of his sporting accolades include making close to 200 appearances for Chelsea FC, being voted player of the year by the club in the 1983/84 season and playing internationally for Scotland in the UEFA Euro 1992 finals.

Far from your stereotypical footballer, Pat is renowned for his avid interest in literature, the arts and music, exemplified by his arts degree from Glasgow Caledonian University and his co-authorship of the unorthodox and insightful book ‘In Ma Head, Son’ published in 1997. In retirement Pat has been the Chairman of the Player’s Football Association in England, which also included assuming many roles relating to the Chair such as Director of the Education Society and Trustee of the Pension Schemes. For a short time Pat was the Chief Executive at Motherwell FC, afterwards co-opting onto many committees within the Scottish Premier League and Football Association, including the SFA council and the youth development board.

Pat is currently the Director of the nationwide charity ‘Football Aid’, in addition to occupying previous charitable positions such as the chair of the Scottish Autistic Society fundraising Committee, which raised the required £6 million to finance a new school in Alloa. Furthermore Pat was co-founder and present campaigner for the widespread anti-racist movement in football. Pat’s impressive professional background and extensive and wholehearted involvement in various charities makes him the ideal candidate for rector of the University of St. Andrews.


The Rector

Catherine Stihler
c/o Court Office
College Gate

North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AJ
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 462005


Rector's Assessor

Annie Newman
c/o Students' Association

St Mary's Place
St Andrews
KY16 9UZ
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1334 462700