University of St Andrews: St Andrews formally welcomes its first female Black Rector

Dr Leyla Hussein OBE was today (Friday 15 April) officially installed as the University of St Andrews’ 54th Rector.

The official installation ceremony followed the traditional student ‘drag’ (Thursday 14 April), which saw students lead the new Rector on a tour of local hostelries in a day of celebration which included a procession through the town and a pier walk.

Dr Hussein was elected Rector in November 2020 for a three-year term. A psychotherapist, campaigner and global leader on gender rights, she is the first Black woman to be elected Rector of St Andrews.

Dr Hussein said: “Two productive, educational and energising years into my term as Rector, I am honoured to be partaking in the storied traditions of the ‘Rector’s Drag’ and formal installation ceremony.

“As Rector, it is my greatest honour and responsibility to represent student voices at the highest levels of decision making at this historic University. The entirety of my term as Rector has been committed to support for student advocacy and activism and dedicated to the great structural change that such work contributes to.

“To each student at this University who is demanding greater support, accessibility and inclusivity, I truly admire your contributions to the St Andrews community and hope to continue supporting your work in my final year as your Rector.”

Since 1858, the Rector has been elected by the students. Dr Hussein follows in the footsteps of a long list of illustrious former Rectors, including authors J M Barrie and Rudyard Kipling, Monty Python founding member John Cleese, and Catherine Stihler MEP. In addition to being President of the University Court, the highest governing body of the University, the Rector plays an informal, pastoral role for students.

Lottie Doherty, University of St Andrews’ Students’ Association President, said: “This is an unusual Rector’s Installation in that it’s taking place roughly halfway through Leyla’s term as Rector.

“This provides us with an opportunity to not only celebrate Leyla’s election and welcome her into St Andrews, but also the impact of her term as Rector so far. Leyla’s work with a plethora of amazing initiatives and her passion for driving positive change has inspired myself and the student body. We are all excited to see what Leyla will do for the St Andrews community during the second half of her Rectorship.”

Comments are closed.