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The 600th Anniversary Campaign

A celebration of how the University of St Andrews reached its £100 million fundraising target and what this has achieved.

The University’s 600th Anniversary Campaign was set within the context of an ancient philanthropic tradition. The Campaign began quietly in 2008 and was launched publicly in 2011 by HRH The Duke of Cambridge to augment the University's relatively small endowment and to raise funds for ambitious projects that will consolidate its status as a world-class centre for teaching, learning and research.

Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, the University of St Andrews has met its £100 million target, almost doubled its endowment and built a legacy from which its current and future students, staff and members of the community will benefit.

Over 15,500 alumni, students, staff and supporters helped to achieve this goal.

Professor Sally Mapstone and other members of the St Andrews community explain how the 600th Anniversary Campaign has benefited the University, describe key plans for the future and say thank you to everyone who has contributed.

The launch

HRH Prince William of Wales officially launched the 600th Anniversary Campaign on Friday 25 February 2011 in St Andrews.

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.

To mark this momentous Anniversary, the Appeal we are launching today aims to raise £100 million to invest in people and ideas, ensuring that the brightest students come to St Andrews, regardless of background and circumstance… and once they are here they are taught by the best teachers. So Happy Birthday St Andrews. Here’s to you, and here’s to the next 600 years.

HRH Prince William of Wales, MA 2005

Events of the Campaign

The launch of the Chancellor's Circle (2011)

The Chancellor's Circle was founded to recognise and thank those generous alumni and friends who have chosen to remember St Andrews in their will and are helping to create an enduring foundation for the success of future students.

In recent years, legacy bequests have supported the redevelopment of the Sports Centre and Students’ Association building and the construction of the Medical and Biological Sciences building on the North Haugh. Bequests have also played a central role in our plans for the Laidlaw Music Centre, while a significant number of people have requested that their legacy is used to establish undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships.

Premier of Ever to Excel (2012)

On Wednesday 16 May 2012, many of the University's alumni, friends and supporters gathered at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) in New York for the US premiere of Ever to Excel – the first-ever film made about the foundation and development of Scotland’s first university. The film was directed by award-winning filmmaker Murray Grigor OBE and featured the incomparable Sir Sean Connery, Hon DLitt, 1988. Initially agreeing to be the unseen narrator for the film, Sir Sean Connery was persuaded to step in front of the lens once again following his retirement from acting.

"When Louise Richardson invited me to collaborate on a film to mark our 600 years, as a key part of the scholarship endowment campaign, I readily agreed."

Sir Sean Connery, Hon DLitt, 1988

Following other successful premieres in St Andrews, Los Angeles, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, Ever to Excel was made available to alumni and friends around the globe to take part in a worldwide film weekend in October 2013. Screenings took place in 25 countries.

Celebrating 600 years of the University of St Andrews with stories charting its progress over hundreds of years, and a look at how this university, which was founded on the east coast of Scotland, became the 'fountain of all the arts and sciences'.

600th Anniversary Campaign Dinner - London (2012)

The University held a 600th Anniversary Campaign Dinner on 8 November 2012 at Middle Temple Hall, London to raise money for scholarships. The event was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the 600th Anniversary Campaign dinner.

St Andrews joins in Lord Mayor of London's Show (2012)

On Saturday 10 November 2012, a walking party of over 40 undergraduates (including costumed students representing Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, Pope Benedict XIII and John Cleese) took part in the Lord Mayor of London’s Show. They were joined by over 6,000 people, 25 marching bands, 300 horses, 18 vintage cars, 21 carriages, an original American stagecoach and a Japanese Taiko drum band.

Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral (2012)

A special Service of Thanksgiving was held in the spectacular surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday 20 December 2012. The event was organised by the University of St Andrews London Alumni Club as a commemoration of six centuries of people and ideas.

The event was organised by James North, James Younger and a committee of dedicated volunteers. It was sponsored by a series of generous corporate sponsors, led by alumnus Stuart Mitchell, founding partner of SW Mitchell Capital. 

Thanks to their generosity, all proceeds from the ticket sales were given directly to the 600th Anniversary Campaign and contributed to the creation of a London Scholarship, to enable future deserving students from the city to study at St Andrews.  

The special Service of Thanksgiving was organised by the University's London Alumni Club.

The 600th Anniversary golf tournament (2013)

The St Andrews 600 – a friendly competition incorporating rounds of golf on The Duke’s, Kingsbarns Golf Links and the Old Course – took place from 20 to 23 June 2013. The competition coincided with the first ever exhibition of the work of celebrated golf photographer Lawrence Levy.

Nearly 200 of Levy's photographs were on display in the University Library between June and August 2013.

600th Anniversary Academic Celebration (2013)

The University hosted a two-day academic celebration from 13 to 14 September 2013. Honorary graduates included:

  • Hillary Clinton, former United States Secretary of State
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the world wide web
  • Professor Mary Beard, Britain’s best-known classicist.

As one of the most influential women in the world, Hillary Clinton, as stateswomen, senator, and policymaker never shied away from tackling difficult questions, working to make the world a better place, inspiring others, speaking out for the voiceless and striving ever to excel.

Over the two days, academic leaders participated in an academic summit in response to Hillary Clinton’s challenge: “Today our democracies are under stress. It is more important than ever that we rally behind what started here.”

Academics gathered in the Younger Hall to debate the challenges of issues including globalisation, information technology and the need to move away from the current, ‘corrosive’ audit culture.

St Andrews New York Gala Benefit (2014)

The University literally stopped the traffic in New York with the St Andrews New York Gala Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 9 December 2014, attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It raised a record-breaking sum for student scholarships, medicine, science and sport.

Renowned opera singer Renée Fleming performed two songs at the conclusion of dinner.

The launch of the Hong Kong Foundation (2015)

The former Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Louise Richardson launched the University of St Andrews Hong Kong Foundation on 29 October 2015 at the official residence of the British Consul to Macau and Hong Kong.

As a result of the event, a number of founding gifts were received, including those from George and Stella Lee who generously established an endowed Hong Kong Scholarship for an undergraduate student, in addition to their support of postgraduate scholarships in economics and biochemistry.

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor goes on tour (2016)

Professor Sally Mapstone took up the office of Principal and Vice-Chancellor in September 2016 and then hit the ground running by undertaking a tour to North America, the Far East and the Middle East to meet alumni and friends prior to her formal installation on 29 November 2016.

This trip gave the new Principal an opportunity to meet with the University’s many friends and supporters, promote the work of the University and build on existing strong alumni networks in these areas.

Professor Sally Mapstone attending an event at the China Club in Hong Kong.

The launch of the German Association (2017)

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor launched the University of St Andrews German Association in November 2017, with events in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin.

The Association was founded to raise funds to establish new German scholarships for St Andrews, foster cultural and academic exchanges between St Andrews and Germany and promote networking and careers opportunities for alumni in Germany.

"St Andrews has a long and proud tradition as a very international university. I am delighted that this year we have been able to launch our new German Association to add to our existing Hong Kong Foundation and American Foundation, as part of our undertaking to maintain our strong international ties with our alumni and friends in Germany and Europe."

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

St Andrews celebrates £100 million funding success (2018)

On 26 June 2018, the major fundraising campaign launched by the University to mark its 600th anniversary reached its £100 million total.

"The 600th Anniversary Campaign has been a remarkable team effort on the part of our staff and so many of our alumni and friends.

It not only helped us realise a highly ambitious total, it has brought the St Andrews family across the world closer together than ever before, at a time when universities like St Andrews need the support and energy of their former students more than ever.

It is particularly fitting that we are reaching the finishing line in the same week that we send another 2,000 graduates out in the world, many of whom will have benefited from 600th Campaign initiatives.

We are hugely grateful to our patron The Duke of Cambridge for his unwavering support of this critically important initiative."

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice- Chancellor 


The aim of the 600th Anniversary Campaign was to augment the University’s relatively small endowment and raise funds for ambitious projects that would consolidate its status as a world-class centre for teaching, learning and research.

The Medical and Biological Sciences Building, North Haugh

Thanks to major donations from the Wolfson Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Robertson and Yelsel Trusts, St Andrews was the first university in Scotland to fully integrate research facilities across medicine and the sciences in one custom-built School.

The Medical and Biological Sciences Building officially opened on Friday 12 November 2010.

The Richardson Research Library at Martyrs Kirk

The University bought the vacant Martyrs Kirk from the Church of Scotland in 2012 and transformed and refitted the iconic building as a Research Library and Special Collections Reading Room.

Major benefactors included the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Northwood Charitable Trust; Michael Buchanan; Wendy and George David; Louise Richardson and Thomas Jevon; Sir Ewan and Lady Brown; Ian, Catherine and Lucy Ferguson; the Dunhill Links Foundation and the Binks Trust. 

It was at the request of the Carnegie Corporation that the building was named The Richardson Research Library at Martyrs Kirk in honour of the former Principal on 23 June 2016.

The naming of the Richardson Research Library at Martyrs Kirk in 2016.

The Students' Association 

After extensive redevelopment, the Students' Association was transformed and opened during orientation week in 2015. Since then, the building and its facilities have become very popular with both town and gown.

The Students' Association building reopened in 2015 following a major and long-awaited redevelopment.

St Salvator's Quadrangle

St Salvator’s Quadrangle sits at the geographical and spiritual heart of the town. It is the setting for graduation – the most significant student rite of passage – as well as for international celebrations and community events. Over 1,500 alumni, family and friends from around the globe raised more than £700,000 towards refurbishing the Quad by taking the opportunity to have their names inscribed on the new flagstones.

The refurbished St Salvator's Quadrangle, looking towards Lower and Upper College Hall.

Find out more about the history of St Salvator's Quad.

Sports centre

Thanks to the support of alumni, friends and donors, the University recently completed the renovation of the Sports Centre including a new eight-court sports arena, a new fitness suite and an enlarged strength and conditioning suite. 

A state-of-the-art indoor tennis centre was made possible with generous funding from sportscotland, Tennis Scotland, the Lawn Tennis Association and the Horn family. The Schlenker Family Climbing Wall – designed by leading Scottish climber Scott Muir and constructed by Dream Climbing Walls is hugely popular with students and the local community. Renovations to the dance studio have also been completed, with kind support from the Krentz family.

Chair in Philosophy and Public Affairs and Endowed Lectureship in American Literature

A five million dollar donation from the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund in December 2016 enabled the University to establish a Chair in Philosophy and Public Affairs and completed the fundraising for an Endowed Lectureship in American Literature.

Thanks to this donation, Dr Kristen Treen was appointed as a lecturer in American Literature in September 2018, and Professor Imogen Dickie will take up the Shelby Cullom Davis Chair in Philosophy from July 2019. 

Christopher Davis, who studied Philosophy and Practical Theology at St Andrews, arranged the donation. He felt that it was an appropriate way to give back:

"I owe more to St Andrews than I can say. The University’s ethos embodies values that are increasingly rare on campuses and in society: academic rigour, informed and open-minded debate, internationalism, good-willed collegiality and simple decency. In today’s world, what could be more deserving of support?" - Christopher Davis

Laidlaw Music Centre

Thanks to a transformational donation from the Laidlaw Foundation, a significant bequest from the late Jean McPherson and the support of alumni, parents and friends, the Laidlaw Music Centre has now been completed: the vision of award-winning architects Flanagan Lawrence has been realised.

The Laidlaw Music Centre will offer extraordinary and varied spaces for students, staff and community to sing, rehearse, perform and make music in all styles and genres.

The crowning glory of the new building is the McPherson Recital Room, with its reverberation chamber and a fully automated flooring system – the only one of its kind in the world.

As Director Michael Downes says, “It will encourage students to enjoy the sounds they’re making, enable them to experiment and go beyond their comfort zone and inspire them to develop their musicality. It’s also a space where professional musicians and those from the wider community will come to rehearse, record and perform – putting St Andrews in the centre of the musical map of Scotland and beyond.”

Enjoy a virtual look inside the Laidlaw Music Centre and listen to some of the Laidlaw Live performances that have recently been streamed from there.


As a result of the 600th Anniversary Campaign, over £27.7 million has been raised for scholarships and student support by more than 8,000 donors and the University has been able to set up over 500 new scholarships for disadvantaged students. 

Your support has changed lives.

A thank you to staff

On Wednesday 19 June 2019 Professor Mapstone hosted an event in Lower College Hall to thank University staff for their contributions and support during the 600th Anniversary Campaign.

"This has been an enormous and successful team effort."

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice- Chancellor 
Members of University staff join the Principal and Vice-Chancellor for a celebration in Lower College Hall.

Looking to the future

The support from alumni, friends and families has allowed the University of St Andrews to have a wide-reaching impact on our people, their ambitions and the community – but to be successful, the University cannot standstill.

Plans for the future include the development and refurbishment of the Younger Hall, the creation of a ‘New College’ at the Madras site on South Street. And, as always, both undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships are a priority.

University strategy 2018-2023  Fundraising priorities

Thursday 20 June 2019


Graphics and design by the University of St Andrews digital communications team. Content written by Sue Hill, Development unit.

Images provided by the University's Development unit.
Videos and editing by Ed Broughton, Corporate Communications and EikCaffery Creative.


Many thanks to all alumni, donors, parents, friends and staff for their support during the 600th Anniversary Campaign.
The Principal and Vice-Chancellor. 


Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2113