Talk will celebrate university history

The University of St Andrews is currently in the middle of a three year period of celebration to mark its six centuries of history.

The Abertay Historical Society was founded at University College, Dundee in 1947, then a part of the University St Andrews, and has maintained links with Scotland’s oldest university ever since. Given this, and the Society’s role in promoting the history of Tayside and Fife, the AHS was very keen to mark St Andrew’s 600th celebrations by arranging a public lecture on the early days of university education in Scotland. Therefore the AHS is delighted that on 14th March guest Professor Roger Mason of the University of St Andrews shall give a special talk entitled “An educational revolution? The foundation of Scotland’s ancient universities”.

Professor Mason said: “In 2013, St Andrews University will celebrate its 600th anniversary.

“The foundation of St Andrews in 1413, however, was rapidly followed by that of Glasgow in 1451 and King’s College Aberdeen in 1495.”

In his lecture he will examine what lay behind the foundation and development of Scotland’s ancient universities and reflect on their broader cultural significance in the 15th and 16th centuries.

In doing this he will ask a number of key questions about the background to and impact of this proliferation of university foundations in the fifteenth century. For instance why were they founded in this time period? What impact did their emergence have on Scottish culture and society? Was this phenomenon a distinctively Scottish one or one which was part of a wider European trend? And how did these new educational foundations respond to the challenges posed by the Renaissance and Reformation?

Roger Mason is Professor of Scottish History and Director of the Institute of Scottish Historical Research at the University of St Andrews, and has published extensively on the political thought and culture of late medieval and early modern Scotland.

For more details contact Matthew Jarron at