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Founders' Day Service

IThe North-east public are invited to celebrate the founding of the University of Aberdeen, 509 years ago, at the annual Founders' Day Service at St Machar Cathedral on Sunday 8 February at 11am. The Right Reverend Professor Iain Torrance, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will be preaching.

Dignitaries representing the local community, the city council, current academics, students and graduates of the university will join the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for the special service at St Machar Cathedral. Principal C Duncan Rice, will take part in the Act of Commemoration and recite the names of the seven Founders of the University.

The University of Aberdeen is Scotland's third oldest, founded in 1495 by William Elphinstone, the Bishop of Aberdeen and former Chancellor of Scotland who saw a need for more clergy, teachers and doctors to serve the community of the North. With the support of James IV and the approval of Pope Alexander VI, Bishop Elphinstone created a new university and established a new centre of learning in the town of Old Aberdeen. In 1497, the University could boast the first chair of medicine in the English-speaking world.

The University continues to lead in the 21st century and has become an integral part of the city and its commitment to providing services for the local community is clear. One example is the huge investment in medical research.


Iain Torrance was nominated Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 2003-4. Iain Torrance was formerly a parish minister in the Shetland Islands, and subsequently a lecturer at the University of Birmingham. He is a Chaplain to The Queen in Scotland. He has served as President of the Aberdeen Association of University Teachers, and was Convener of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland's Committee on Chaplains to the Forces 1998-2002. He is a member of the international dialogue between the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Orthodox Church, and is co-editor of Scottish Journal of Theology.

The University of Aberdeen was founded on February 10, 1495. The Founders are:
Pope Alexander VI who issued a bull giving permission for the erection of a University in Old Aberdeen.
King James IV, who granted a Charter of endowment to the University.
William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen and Chancellor of Scotland, Founder of the University and King's College.
Gavin Dunbar, Bishop of Aberdeen.
King James VI who granted to the Earl Marischal the lands of the Black and Grey Friars.
George Keith, Earl Marischal, Founder of Marischal College.
King Charles I, Benefactor of King's College and Founder of the projected Caroline University of Aberdeen.

Issued by the Communications Office, External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: 01224 272013 Contact: Emma Darling