Maitland Mackie installed as Rector of the University of Aberdeen

Maitland Mackie installed as Rector of the University of Aberdeen

Tradition dictates that the University of Aberdeen’s new rector must ride down the High Street aloft a bull carried at shoulder height by students of the institution.

Today (Friday March 23) Aberdeenshire businessman Maitland Mackie will be officially begin his three year tenure in the role with an installation ceremony.

The Rector, an ancient post dating back to the foundation of the University in 1495, is the students’ representative, particularly in welfare matters, and sits on the University Court.

The ceremony will start at 10.30am with a colourful academic procession representing civic, student and academic life in Aberdeen. University staff and students, along with representatives from the City and Aberdeenshire Councils, Incorporated Trades, MSPs, alumni, and guests of Dr Mackie, will attend the ceremony which will be followed by a reception in the King’s Conference Centre.

The ceremony will feature music chosen by Dr Mackie including Professor Paul Mealor’s Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, which will be sung by soprano Jillian Christie, a fourth year music student.

The reception will culminate with the new Rector being carried by the student mascot, Angus the Bull, to the St Machar Bar in the High Street of Old Aberdeen, where tradition also dictates that he buy a round of drinks for his student supporters.

Dr Mackie, Chairman of Mackie’s of Scotland, a prominent Aberdeenshire-based family-owned business, said: “It is an honour to be representing students of the University of Aberdeen.

“This brings back memories of my own student days at the University 55 years ago – a wonderful experience which has never left me.

“I’m looking forward to supporting the Students Association, its president, Tessa Birley , and her sabbatical students in their objective  of delivering continuous improvement in that experience.”

Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “I believe that it is especially fitting that we install as our new Rector today someone who not only played such a full part in student life during their own student days, but has continued an extremely close relationship with the University community throughout.

“On behalf of the academic community I am very pleased to welcome Dr Maitland Mackie to this important role.”

Tessa Birley, President of Aberdeen University Students’ Association, said: “I am really delighted that Maitland has been installed as our new Rector, not least because of his commitment to environmental issues in addition to his knowledge of our University. 

“We are confident he will be a real champion for Aberdeen students.”