BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK: Scotland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 24 September, 2001, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
Royal university's graduate roll call
Prince William studying at Eton
Prince William has sparked interest in the university
As Prince William begins his studies at St Andrews University he is adding his name to an esteemed list of graduates.

Scotland's oldest university already has a lengthy royal heritage.

Many Scottish kings went to St Andrews, which was founded in 1411, until the 16th century.

Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama has been honoured by St Andrews
But the university has also provided an education to a number of important figures in the arts, politics, science - not to mention sword fighting.

The latter skill was boasted by Scottish adventurer James Crichton, whose nickname gave JM Barrie the title of his play The Admirable Crichton.

Born in 1560, he travelled widely in Europe and earned a reputation as a swordsman, poet and scholar before his death in a swordfight in Italy.

He was born a decade before another of St Andrews' renowned graduates, John Napier.

The inventor of logarithms started his studies at the university in 1563 at the tender age of 13.

Sir Sean Connery
Scottish actor Sir Sean Connery
James Wilson, one of the fathers of the American constitution, was also educated at St Andrews.

He was an influential figure in drawing up the constitution.

In more recent times, former student Sir James Black won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988.

He received a joint award with Gertrude B.Elion and George H.Hitchings in recognition of the trio's discovery of "important principles" leading to the development of a series of new drugs.

St Andrews was also the seat of learning for former Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond, who graduated in economics and history.

Helen Mirren
Actress Helen Mirren is an honorary graduate
Mr Salmond worked as an economist before entering parliament as MP for Banff and Buchan in 1987 and going on to lead the party for 10 years.

The ranks of former alumni include English author Fay Weldon, who was made a CBE last year.

She has written more than 20 books, including Wicked Women, The Cloning of Joanna May, and The Life and Loves of a She-Devil.

The literary tradition also extends to the university's honorary graduates, which include Harry Potter author JK Rowling and Iain Banks, the Fife writer whose works include The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road.

The list of honorary graduates produces an eclectic array of names, ranging from Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to Scottish comedian Rikki Fulton - best known for the Scotch and Wry television show and his Francie and Josie double act.

The showbusiness connections continue with Prime Suspect star Helen Mirren and Bond star Sir Sean Connery.

Graduate employment

Sir John Shaw, the governor of the Bank of Scotland, and Professor Susan Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution, have also been honoured by the university.

According to a study by the Institute of Employment Research at Warwick University, St Andrews has produced more directors of FTSE 100 companies in proportion to its size than any other educational institution in Britain.

And although it may not be of too much concern to Prince William, St Andrews boasts that it has of one of the highest rates of graduate employment in the UK.

Approximately a third of graduates enter further research after completing their studies.

See also:

31 Jan 01 | Scotland
William 'guards' request more cash
28 Jan 01 | Scotland
Students warned over William leaks
18 Aug 00 | UK
William: The student Prince
17 Aug 00 | Education
Prince William makes the grade
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories