During a Tuesday afternoon ceremony in Younger Hall, Professor Sally Mapstone was installed as the University’s 11th principal and vice-chancellor.
Professor Mapstone’s formal installation comes at the close of her first academic semester as the University’s top official.
This occasion marks the first time in the University’s history that women have held the roles of principal, rector, senior governor, and president of the Students’ Association simultaneously, with Professor Mapstone being the second woman ever to hold the offices of principal and vice-chancellor. In her installment address, Professor Mapstone drew attention to this fact and emphasised her commitment to improving diversity and accessibility at the University during her tenure.
“Women have contributed a great deal to this university but they are often obscured within our narratives.”
Professor Mapstone also broached the subject of Brexit and the European Union, labelling recent national discussions of reducing admissions of international students to UK universities as “perverse”.
“We are not remote, neither geographically […], nor intellectually.”
Citing the University’s extensive ties to the EU, she continued, “I will work as hard as I can to defend and retain these relationships and opportunities, at Scottish, UK, and European level, and with our international friends and partner institutions.”[pullquote]”We are not remote, neither geographically, nor intellectually.”[/pullquote]
While Professor Mapstone focused on the Brexit-related challenges ahead, she also detailed other initiatives her administration will pursue, which include constructing the new Scottish Oceans Institute, improving the University’s “online experience”, and opening an official University nursery in February 2017.
She concluded her address by assuring, “I will work without ceasing to make this a university to whose creative streams and oceans the whole of Scotland, of Europe, and the wider world, are constantly drawn.”
Professor Mapstone held multiple administrative positions at Oxford University and was serving as pro-vice-chancellor for Education before announcing her transition to St Andrews.
Among those in attendance to welcome the new principal were the University chancellor, University rector, and secretary-general of the League of European Research Universities, Kurt Deketelaere. The congratulatory address was delivered by Ruth Hunt, the CEO of LGBT rights group, Stonewall, who was a student of Professor Mapstone at Oxford.