Principal's Medal: Tom Conti-Leslie

Profile image of Principal Medal winner Tom Conti-Leslie

I should now like to introduce the Principal’s Medal. This award was inaugurated twelve years ago with a gift from three anonymous donors and is supported by Ede and Ravenscroft, believed to be the oldest firm of tailors and robe-makers in the world.

The award of the Principal’s Medal recognises students who display exceptional endeavour and achievement during their time at St Andrews. The awards are open to final-year undergraduates and postgraduates in any discipline, and the achievements celebrated are both academic and extra-curricular. 

For the academic year 2020 to 2021, the Principal’s Medal is being presented to three outstanding students. Today we recognise Tom Conti-Leslie, who has just received his Master of Mathematics with Honours.

Tom has perhaps the finest student record I have seen during my time at St Andrews. Tom completed 32 modules in his four years of study, and he received a grade of 19 or 20 in all but three of these and graduates with a GPA of 19.5. It goes without saying that Tom has made the Dean’s List for each year of study, and he has also received the Alexander Stewart Prize for the best junior honours student in Mathematics twice over, the Mathematics Medal for performance at honours level, and the Miller Prize for the most outstanding graduate student in the entire faculty of science. 

With such a supreme record, one could very well anticipate that Tom spends every waking hour in the library – but nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Tom has committed over 400 hours of service to supporting the wellbeing and mental health of his fellow students through the student-led listening service, Nightline. In January 2020, Tom stepped forward from this anonymous volunteering to become Director of the St Andrews Nightline service for twelve months, during his tenure he coordinated the response to the Covid-19 pandemic and transitioned all services online for the first time in their forty-year history – without losing a day of service. This work was recognised with the John Honey Award for 2021, bestowed by the Proctor upon the student who has made the most outstanding contribution to student welfare.

Tom’s capacities are seemingly limitless, and in addition to Nightline he has served as President of the Mathematics Society, Senior Student at John Burnet Hall, and last – but by no means least, as Band Manager for the student ukulele group, Ukelear Fusion.

Tom, in recognition of all your superlative accomplishments both academically and personally during your time as an undergraduate, and as you prepare for your next steps in academia and the third sector, it gives me great pleasure to bestow upon you the Principal’s Medal and to invite you now to share a few words of your own.

– Principal Sally Mapstone