£100,000 gift enables new scholarships for Aberdeen students

New scholarships in honour of a leading theologian and former minister of Aberdeen's Beechgrove church will support students in the Granite City.

The Thomas F. Torrance Scholarship will be awarded to gifted postgraduate Divinity students at the University of Aberdeen.

The bursaries have been funded by a £100,000 gift in memory of Thomas F. Torrance (1913-2007).

T .F. Torrance has been acknowledged as one of the most significant English-speaking theologians of the twentieth century. He served for 27 years as Professor of Christian Dogmatics at the University of Edinburgh but had strong connections to Aberdeen, where he was minister of Beechgrove Church from 1947 to 1950.

His son, Professor Iain R Torrance was born in Aberdeen, was formerly Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Divinity at the University, then Moderator of the General Assembly and then President of Princeton Theological Seminary. He explained that the gift came from the sale of the Scottish Journal of Theology which his father had founded in Aberdeen with Professor J. K. S. Reid in 1948.

Professor Iain Torrance said: “We ran the journal with very low overheads. I was co-editor for 33 years and the editors were unpaid. This meant that in the last five years we have been able to give over half a million pounds to support theology students at the University of Edinburgh, at Oriel College, Oxford where my father and I both were, and now at the University of Aberdeen. Nothing would have pleased him more.”

The endowment will help support for students of Divinity, which has been taught at the University of Aberdeen since it was established in 1495. 

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said: “We are very grateful for this generous donation in memory of Thomas F. Torrance.

“The University of Aberdeen has a proud tradition in the subject dating back to its foundation in 1495 and this gift will help to support the next generation of talented divinity scholars.”