Robin Harper installed as Rector of the University of Aberdeen

Robin Harper installed as Rector of the University of Aberdeen

The University community will be given the chance to see the installation of Robin Harper MSP, as Rector for the University of Aberdeen, at a ceremony at King's College Chapel on Monday, September 19.

Robin Harper joined the Scottish Green Party in 1985 and is now the party’s co-convener. He stood at various elections and became the first UK Green parliamentarian when he was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Spectacular electoral success followed in 2003, when Robin returned to the Parliament with another six Green MSPs. Mr Harper was Rector of the University of Edinburgh from 2000 to 2003.

Robin has taken over from celebrity cook Clarissa Dickson Wright who took a high-profile approach to the job of Rector and made history in 1998 when she became the first woman Rector at Aberdeen in more than 500 years.

The ceremony next week at King's College Chapel will start at 11.00am with a colourful academic procession representing civic, student and academic life in Aberdeen and the University has been gifted with a new Rectorial Mace which will be used in the proceedings.

Speaking ahead of his installation, he said: “I am delighted that I have been successful in being elected as the new Rector for the University of Aberdeen. I can give an absolute guarantee that I will have frequent contact with the students over the ensuing years and perform my duties with the commitment and dedication that the students and the University deserves.”

University staff and students, along with representatives from the City and Aberdeenshire Councils, Incorporated Trades, MSPs, and guests of Robin Harper have been invited to attend the ceremony. An installation reception will be held immediately following the ceremony in a marquee on the playing fields at the University.

Students' Association President, Paul Richards, is looking forward to working with Robin Harper. He said: "To have someone of Robin's calibre representing students at the University Court and within the Scottish Executive is a fantastic opportunity for all our students.

"I am very pleased that Aberdeen's students have elected Robin and the Students' Association is confident that Robin can act as an inspiration to them."

Attending Monday's ceremony will be Donald Wintersgill, a retired Scots journalist, who has kindly gifted to the University the new Rectorial Mace. He has been involved in the designing of the mace and carried out most of the making for the University and is looking forward to seeing it being used for the first time by Robin Harper.

He said: "The design of the new Rectorial Mace is partly in the tradition of maces - for example, the ones that the University already has - and partly from the traditional design for crowns, which have an orb and cross on the top.

"I took this theme, recognising a visual link with the "crown" on the tower of King's College Chapel. The top of the mace has three coats of arms in enamels: the coats of arms of the University, Marischal College and King's College. The orb and cross signify that Christ rules the world."

Following the ceremony, the Rector will be carried from the marquee to The St. Machar Bar - aboard Angus the Bull, the student mascot - where he will buy his student supporters the traditional round of drinks.

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