Birthday messages

Prince William and Catherine Middleton

“Happy Birthday St Andrews. Here’s to you, and here’s to the next 600 years.”

“Despite being one of Europe’s leading research institutions, the third oldest university in the English speaking world and, of course, far and away the best university in the world, St Andrews still has that uncanny knack of feeling like home. And so it must have done to generations of undergraduates before us – in fact 600 years worth.

“It’s knowing that so many of Scotland’s finest brains and great achievers gained – and continue to gain – inspiration from this place that makes me so proud to be the Patron of our university’s 600th Anniversary Appeal.”

The University of St Andrews 600th Anniversary Campaign was launched, with the support of alumni and friends around the world including former US President Bill Clinton, James Bond icon Sir Sean Connery, Alex Salmond, then Scotland's First Minister, and Harvard President, Drew Gilpin Faust. Here you can read their warm words:

President Clinton

President Bill Clinton“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. St Andrews has helped guide and inspire America’s past and future leaders throughout our history; three signatories of our Declaration of Independence held a connection to the University, and thousands of American students are welcomed here each year for study abroad.

“I am confident that the University will continue to build on its impressive legacy, endowing future generations with the honour of a St Andrews education. Best wishes for a wonderful celebration.”

Bond star and St Andrews honorary graduate Sean Connery offered his congratulations to a university “dear to his heart”

Sean ConneryThere 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.”

Former First Minister Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond

“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.

“Scotland’s reputation for innovation and world-class research is founded on the work and intellectual achievements of our academic institutions. I wish StAndrews every success in the future as it reflects on its achievements over the past 600 years.”

Actor and presenter Nicholas Parsons

Nicholas Parsons

“I look back on the three years I spent as Rector of the University of St Andrews with huge pleasure.  It was a most rewarding experience being associated with such an eminent seat of learning.  St Andrews is unique, a most attractive town with wonderful buildings and an atmosphere which is inducive to study and research.  Any student who is accepted there feels special and to be involved in the academic side of this great University, is a privilege I will always treasure.

“Best wishes for the success of the Anniversary Campaign.”

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley

“I send my warmest good wishes and congratulations on this momentous celebration. May this pre-eminent seat of learning go from strength to strength; I look forward to visiting the university in the near future, and until I can deliver them in person I send my fondest thoughts to all who teach, and learn, in this fabulous establishment.”

Dame Judi Dench

Judi Dench

“Happy Birthday St Andrews! I am inordinately proud to be an Honorary Graduate of Scotland's foremost University, and to be a tiny part of its sensational history. I shall be with you in spirit for all the celebrations.”

Poet and novelist Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay

“The University of St Andrews is a rare place: a place of deep learning that also has a lovely family-feel. The university has all the passion and history of the nearby sea, but also a lovely way of incorporating the current. It is a place which allows its students to look back to the past with pride and forward to the future with confidence.”

Ernest L Ransome, III

Ernest L Ransome, III

“It is my honour to extend the University of St Andrews congratulations on their 600th Anniversary. My association with St Andrews has been marked with events that have served to become some of my most cherished memories. At the top of this list is the scholarship trust a group of my friends in 1994 established in my name. Each year four graduate and four undergraduate students attend the University of St Andrews under The Ransome Scholarship. The scholarship provides each student their full tuition fees, housing, book allowance, spending allowance and two roundtrip airfare tickets back to their home each year.

“Almost every student has told me that the opportunity to be able to attend this wonderful university and receive such an outstanding education was a life changing experience. It is one of my great pleasures to keep in contact with many of the students and to follow their career after graduation. Knowing that they might not have had the opportunity to pursue their dreams and fine careers without the help of this scholarship is unbelievably rewarding for me.

“So again, Happy 600th Birthday St Andrews. May you continue to provide excellence in teaching and academics for another 600 years.”

Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust

“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 JM 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.”