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Olympic Torch Relay, West Sands, June 2012

St Andrews in the News

July 2012


Welcome to the July issue of St Andrews in the News, our regular e-newsletter for alumni, friends and supporters around the world.

NB. Please click on the feature heading for full details.




Catch up on all the highlights from Graduation week, including the Principal’s Graduation Address, the laureation addresses for our honorary graduates, the 600th Anniversary lecture by Noam Chomsky, and coverage of the week’s activities by student TV channel Bubble TV.

Olympic flame lights up St Andrews

The Olympic Torch made a special visit to the University on 13 June as part of its historic 70-day relay across the UK. It was carried through St Salvator’s Quadrangle by record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont..


'Floppy baby' breakthrough

New information on the potential cause of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), known as 'floppy baby' syndrome, has been discovered by cell biology experts at St Andrews. The condition is the leading genetic cause of death in children and affects one in 6000 live births.


St Andrews Cathedral reconstructed


Computer scientists at the University, in collaboration with 3D designers, art historians and archaeologists, have created an extraordinary, virtual reconstruction of St Andrews Cathedral, Scotland’s largest mediaeval church. Visitors to the online cathedral will be able to create their own avatars and navigate their way around the reconstruction.

Uncovering Britain's lost 'Atlantis'

Earth scientists at St Andrews have revealed a hidden underwater world in the North Sea called Doggerland, which was once larger than many modern European countries. Using a combination of geophysical modelling of data obtained from oil and gas companies and direct evidence from material recovered from the seafloor, the research team has been able to build up a reconstruction of the lost land.


Aiming for success

Kathryn Williamson, a first-year student studying International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies, has been honoured with a hat-trick of awards from the University. She has been named Athlete of the Year, Bejantine of the Year, and awarded the Rifle Club’s Champion Cup for being the highest performing shooter in the club. Kathryn, from Johnsfield near Lockerbie, is the reigning Scottish Junior Women’s Air Rifle and Scottish Junior Champion.


Housing wealth study


Present Government housing policies leave families ‘exposed and vulnerable’, according to researchers from the University’s Centre for Housing Research.   A major new research project will investigate the growing gaps in housing wealth and their consequences for the social and economic well-being of families in Britain.

Mind control

New research by psychologists at St Andrews suggests that it is possible to suppress emotional autobiographical memories. The important findings may offer exciting new potential for therapeutic interventions for individuals suffering from emotional disorders, such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Heather Higgins Bequest


A very generous legacy from Miss Heather Higgins, MA (Hons) 1950, has allowed for the establishment of the Heather Cadogan Higgins Choral Scholarship fund. It is intended that the endowment will provide choristers with an annual bursary of £250, a year’s worth of singing lessons and two meals per week following each service. It is hoped that the opportunity to sing at international level will attract students of the very highest calibre.

Indian exchange programme

Students from St Andrews are taking part in the first exchange programme established between the University and an institute in India. The exchange enables two undergraduate students in Biology to spend up to 10 weeks carrying out research projects at the Indian Institute for Science Education and Research (IISER) at Mohali in the Punjab. In return, two students from IISER Mohali have just arrived at St Andrews to begin their research projects in laboratories in the School of Biology.


Stem-cell collaboration

St Andrews research scientists are to work together with scientists in California on new medical research that could lead to major breakthroughs for people living with life-threatening conditions. As part of the Scottish Universities/Stanford University (SU2P) programme, the ground-breaking research will examine how to grow new stem cells to treat people living with brain or spinal cord injuries or conditions like Parkinson’s disease.


Missing gene


Scientists at St Andrews have discovered that a gene, thought previously to be one of the fundamental building-blocks of life, is not present in certain single cell organisms living near volcanoes. The discovery has ramifications for understanding about how life has evolved on earth as it suggests even crucial genes can be displaced under some circumstances.

Urchins could help cure cancer


University scientists have discovered that the genetic make-up of the purple sea urchin could help develop cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.


Summer events at MUSA

Over the summer, the University museum is organising a full programme of family events, including workshops, walking tours, talks, film showings and music performances. Full details from the MUSA website.

MUSA, 7a The Scores, St Andrews
Throughout July and August

Summer Concert Series

The University Music Centre is presenting a regular programme of afternoon and evening recitals throughout July. Full programme details from the Music Centre.

Various venues, St Andrews
Throughout July

MUSA Collections Centre Tour

Come along to the MUSA Collections Centre to explore behind the scenes in the museum store! Discover items from the University's collection of over 112,000 objects. Find out about how we display and care for the University's collections of fine and applied art, silver, textiles, furniture, chemistry and historic scientific instruments. This is a free event but booking is required.

MUSA Collections Centre, 87 North Street, St Andrews
Wednesday 1 August, 2.00pm – 3.00pm

Function, Form and Funding: What are universities for – and who should pay for them?

To mark the 600th Anniversary of the foundation of the University, the School of History and the Institute of Scottish Historical Research are joining with the International Commission for the History of Universities to host an international conference on the theme of 'Function, form and funding: What are universities for – and who should pay for them?' The conference will explore both the historic and contemporary function of university education and the extent to which its academic purposes have been, and still are, driven by broader economic, social and political issues.

University of St Andrews
Wednesday 29 – Friday 31 August, 9.00am – 5.00pm



Fantastic Creatures


Exhibition of the winning entries from the 2012 MUSA Young Artist Award for schoolchildren across Fife.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Continues to Saturday 25 August

‘Journeys – 600 Years of the University of St Andrews’

This exhibition aims to celebrate the University’s long and distinguished history, placing key events in the context of other world events and examining this history from the point of view of students (both past and present), staff and the general St Andrews community.

Gateway Galleries, North Haugh, St Andrews
Throughout 2012

Alumni news, clubs and services

Reunion 2012: Friday 22 – Sunday 24 June

Image by Ben Goulter

This year’s Reunion Weekend specially honoured those alumni celebrating a five- or ten- year anniversary of their graduation (ie those whose graduation year ends ‘2’ or ’7’).  Around 200 people, including alumni and their guests, attended one or more Reunion events. With graduation dates spanning 66 years from 1944 to 2010, alumni travelled from as far afield as the US, Canada, Australia, Iceland and Germany, as well as from different parts of the UK.
The dates for next year’s Reunion Weekend are Friday 28 to Sunday 30 June 2013 when those with graduation years ending ‘3’ and ‘8’ will automatically receive an invitation. Others interested in attending need only contact to be added to the mailing list.

St Andrews Graduates Launch Software Company


Three St Andrews Computer Science graduates Robert MacInnis (PhD 2010), Allan Boyd (BSc 2005), and Angus Macdonald (PhD 2012) are launching their newest software company, AetherStore™, based in New York City. AetherWorks’s mission is to develop high-quality, fault-tolerant software that makes people’s lives easier, and organisations more efficient, through the commercialization of world-class research.

New graduate publishes first book and donates proceeds


Just one month after her graduation from St Andrews with a degree in International Relations, alumna Laura Konkel has already published her first book. Wannabee in...London with Me, a travel guide written for children and published by Whoof Publishing, provides fun advice and engaging illustrations for any family travelling to London to enjoy the 2012 Olympics and is available in soft cover and downloadable ebook formats.  Laura has agreed to contribute proceeds from book sales to the 2012 Class Gift. See Publications below.

General Council of the University of St Andrews

Congratulations to Nigel B Christie, MA (Hons), 1971 and Rev Dr Robin Hill, PhD, 1991, who were elected by the General Council in the recent round of online voting. Please visit our website for the full results and for details of the new members of the Business Committee who took up office on 1 July 2012.

The next meeting of the General Council will take place at 6.30pm on Friday 23 November 2012 in The Wolfson Medical Building, University of Glasgow. Further information, including how to book a ticket, will be available on the General Council website later in the year.

Social networking

Alumni and friends can now keep up to date with the University activities and events online via Facebook and Twitter.

Follow our 600th Anniversary celebrations on Facebook.

US parents Facebook group is looking forward to hearing from you!

Network professionally through the alumni-run University of St Andrews Alumni LinkedIn group.

Making a Gift

Our 600th Anniversary campaign was launched last year by our campaign Patron and alumnus, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.The campaign will support a range of projects and aspirational new developments integral to the University’s ambition to consolidate its status as a world-class centre for teaching and research. To view the exciting and varied projects that make up the campaign, please visit our 600th website. You can make a gift to the campaign in a variety of ways.

You can also make a legacy gift to the University to safeguard its future.

We look forward to welcoming you to our community of donors, committed to securing a seventh century of excellence for this great university.

Publications: Alumni Authors

The Best Soldier

Elizabeth Scott (Bettine), MB ChB 1956


Price £8.99 available from Waterstones

Wannabee in… London with me! – a travel guide for kids

Laura Konkel, MA International Relations 2012

Price $11.99 (+ shipping) from University of St Andrews Class Gift 2012

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