University of Aberdeen
|University of Aberdeen|
|Latin: Universitas Aberdonensis|
|Motto||Initium sapientiae timor domini|
|Motto in English||The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord|
|Endowment||£29.2 million |
|Budget||£217 million |
|Chancellor||HRH The Duchess of Rothesay|
|Principal||Professor Ian Diamond|
|Location||Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom|
The University of Aberdeen is a public research-focused university in the city of Aberdeen, Scotland. It is an ancient university founded in 1495 when William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, petitioned Pope Alexander VI on behalf of James IV, King of Scots to create King's College. This makes it Scotland's third-oldest university (after the University of St. Andrews and the University of Glasgow) and fifth-oldest in the English-speaking world. The university as it is today was formed in 1860 by a merger between King's College (which had always referred to itself as the University of Aberdeen) and Marischal College, a second university founded in 1593 in Aberdeen city centre as a Protestant alternative to Kings College. Today, the University of Aberdeen is consistently ranked among the top 150 universities in the world and is one of two universities in Aberdeen today (the other is The Robert Gordon University).
The university's iconic buildings act as symbols of the City of Aberdeen, particularly Marischal College in the city centre and the spire of King's College in Old Aberdeen. There are two campuses; the main King's College campus is at Old Aberdeen approximately two miles north of the city centre, around the original site of King's College, although most campus buildings were constructed in the 20th century during a period of expansion. The university's Foresterhill campus is located next to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and houses the School of Medicine and Dentistry and School of Medical Sciences.
The University has approximately 13,500 students from undergraduate to doctoral level, including many international students. There are also large numbers of Masters and PhD students. In addition, the university's Centre for Lifelong Learning acts as an extension college, offering higher education courses to the local community even for those without the usual qualifications for admission to degree-level study. A full range of disciplines are offered, including the liberal arts, science, social sciences, psychology, mathematics, engineering, law, medicine, education, computing science, music, divinity, theology and religious studies. In 2012, the university offered over 650 undergraduate degree programmes.
Five Nobel Prize winners are associated with the University. Other academics and graduates of the University include many distinguished figures, including: physicist James Clerk Maxwell; Thomas Reid, the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense and an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment; philosopher Robert Adamson; educationalist and philosopher Alexander Bain; and theologian William Robinson Clark.
King's and Marischal Colleges 
The first university in Aberdeen, King's College, was founded in February 1495 by William Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, Chancellor of Scotland, and a graduate of the University of Glasgow drafting a request on behalf of King James IV to Pope Alexander VI resulting in a Papal Bull being issued. The first principal was Hector Boece, graduate and professor of the University of Paris, who worked closely with Elphinstone to develop the university. Despite this founding date, teaching did not actually start for another ten years, and the University of Aberdeen celebrated 500 years of teaching and learning in 2005.
Following the Scottish Reformation in 1560, King's College was purged of its Roman Catholic staff but in other respects was largely resistant to change. George Keith, the fifth Earl Marischal was a moderniser within the college and supportive of the reforming ideas of Peter Ramus. In April 1593 he founded a second university in the city, Marischal College. It is also possible that the founding of another college in nearby Fraserburgh by Sir Alexander Fraser, a business rival of Keith, was instrumental in its creation. Aberdeen was highly unusual at this time for having two universities in one city: as 20th-century University prospectuses observed, Aberdeen had the same number as existed in England at the time (the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge).
Initially, Marischal College offered the Principal of King's College a role in selecting its academics, but this was refused - the first blow in a developing rivalry. Marischal College, being located in the commercial heart of the city (rather than the ancient but much smaller collegiate enclave of Old Aberdeen), was quite different in nature and outlook. For example, it was more integrated into the life of the city, such as allowing students to live outwith the College. The two rival colleges often clashed, sometimes in court, but also in brawls between students on the streets of Aberdeen.
As the institutions eventually began to put aside their differences a process of attempted (but unsuccessful) mergers began in the 17th century. During this time that notable intellectual contributions were made by both colleges to the Scottish Enlightenment. Both colleges supported the Jacobite rebellion and following the defeat of the 1715 rising were largely purged by the authorities of their academics and officials.
The University of Aberdeen's creation 
The nearest the two colleges had come to full union was as the "Caroline University of Aberdeen", a merger initiated by Charles I of Scotland in 1641. Following the civil conflicts of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, a more complete unification was attempted following the ratification of Parliament by Oliver Cromwell during the interregnum in 1654. This united university survived until the Restoration whereby all laws made during this period were rescinded by Charles II and the two colleges reverted to independent status. Charles I is still recognised as one of the university's founders, due to his part in creating the Caroline University and his benevolence towards King's College. Further unsuccessful suggestions for union were brought about throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries.
The two universities in Aberdeen were finally merged on 15 September 1860 in accordance with the Universities (Scotland) Act 1858, which also created a new medical school at Marischal College. The 1858 Act of Parliament stated that the "united University shall take rank among the Universities of Scotland as from the date of erection of King's College and University." The University is thus Scotland's third oldest and the United Kingdom's fifth oldest University.
The modern university 
The relationship of the two ex-college campuses has changed over the years. While at the time of unification each had approximately equal numbers of students, buildings at Marischal College began to be expanded in the late-19th century with a significant rebuilding effort completed in 1906. In the 20th century, the university expanded greatly, particularly at King's College. New buildings were constructed on the land around King's College throughout the 20th century. Initially, these were built to match the ancient buildings (e.g. the New Kings lecture rooms and Elphinstone Hall), but later ones from the 1960s onward were constructed in brutalist style. Meanwhile, the Foresterhill campus began to train medical students in the 1930s next to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.
During the mid-20th century departments which had been at Marischal College moved into one of these new buildings (most at Kings College) and by the late 20th-century Marischal College had been abandoned by all but the Anatomy Department, a graduation hall and the Marischal Museum (Marischal College has now been restored as the headquarters of Aberdeen City Council). Following extensive fundraising, a £57 million new university library (the Sir Duncan Rice Library) opened in autumn 2011 at the Kings College campus to replace the outgrown Queen Mother Library and was officially opened by the Queen in September 2012. Today, most students spend most of their time in modern buildings which provide up-to-date facilities for teaching, research and other activities such as dining. However, the old buildings at Kings College are still in daily use as lecture and tutorial rooms and accommodation for various academic departments.
Symbols of the University and Corporate Identity 
The university's coat of arms is an integral part of the current logo, which along with the colours burgundy and white, is used extensively on campus signage, printed materials, and online.
Coat of Arms 
The university's coat of arms incorporates those of the founders and locations of the two colleges it is derived from. In the top left quadrant are the arms of the burgh of Old Aberdeen, with the addition of a symbol of knowledge being handed down from above. Top right are those of George Keith, the fifth Earl Marischal. Bottom left are those of Bishop William Elphinstone. The bottom right quarter is a simplified version of the three castles which represent the city of Aberdeen  (this symbol of the city also appears prominently on the arms of The Robert Gordon University).
The motto of the University of Aberdeen is Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini, which translates from Latin as "The beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord". It is a quote from the Old Testament of the Bible, Psalm 111, verse 10. It also appears in the Book of Proverbs (9:10). The motto can be seen at the archway beside New Kings on the High Street at the Kings College campus, as well as other campus locations and in formal settings such as on graduation certificates.
A university tartan was created in 1992 as part of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the university which took place in 1995. The tartan was designed by the Weavers Incorporation of Aberdeen and Harry Lindley and incorporates colours from the university's coat of arms.
Academic Dress 
Academic dress is usually worn only at formal occasions, such as at graduation, or academic processions which take place for ceremonial reasons. For undergraduate degrees (e.g. MA, BSc, LLB etc.), a long black gown is worn with a hood of black silk and lined with silk in a colour which varies depending on discipline. For example, the lining is white silk for all Master of Arts degrees, green silk for Bachelor of Science in pure sciences, and crimson silk for MBChB. A black mortarboard is also worn. For Masters degrees (e.g. MSc, MLitt etc.) a long black gown is worn, with a white silk hood lined in a colour that varies by discipline. For PhD, the doctor's scarlet robe is worn with black facings and sleeve lining, along with a black "John Knox" cap. For other doctoral degrees (e.g. EdD, LLD etc.), the scarlet robe has facings and sleeve linings in a different colour.
The original buildings of both colleges which united to form the University are much admired architectural features of Aberdeen. The main campus is now at King's College, where the original buildings are still in use in addition to many newer buildings of largely modernist style. A second campus at Foresterhill houses the School of Medicine and Dentistry. In addition, there are smaller facilities at other sites such as the Royal Cornhill Hospital to the west of the city centre, and the Rowett Institute in Bucksburn.
King's College 
The King's College campus covers an area of some 35 hectares around the ancient King's College buildings and the High Street. It hosts around two-thirds of the university's built estate and most student facilities, and lies 2 miles north of Aberdeen city centre. The university does not own all the buildings on the "campus" which also include private houses, shops and businesses (although many of these rely heavily on custom from the university community) and it is best thought of as a district of the city dominated by the university. It can be reached from the city centre by bus routes 1, 2, 13, 19 and 20 operated by First Aberdeen and from northern Aberdeenshire or the bus station at Union Square by various routes operated by Stagecoach Bluebird.
The historic King's College buildings form a quadrangle with interior court, two sides of which have been rebuilt and expanded with a library wing in the 19th century. The Crown Tower and the Chapel, the oldest parts, date from around 1500. The Crown Tower is surmounted by a structure about 40 ft (12 m) high, consisting of a six-sided lantern and royal crown, both sculptured, and resting on the intersections of two arched ornamental slips rising from the four corners of the top of the tower. This crown, also known as the "Crown of Kings", frequently acts as a symbol of the university. The choir of the chapel contains original oak-canopied stalls, miserere seats, and lofty open screens in the French flamboyant style. They were preserved by the college's Principal during the Reformation, who fought off local barons who had attacked the nearby St Machar's Cathedral. The library wing was converted into an exhibition and conference venue in the 1990s and today also houses the university's Business School.
The first of the modern age of construction in the King's campus began with the construction in 1913 of the New Building (now known as "New King's"), largely in a similar architectural style to the old buildings. New King's groups to form a yet larger quadrangle-like green for the campus also bordered by the High Street, King's and Elphinstone Hall, a traditional 1930 replacement for the Great Hall. The Elphinstone Hall was subsequently used as a dining facility but is now used for graduations, examinations, fairs, and other large university events.
However, most students and staff spend relatively little time in these historic buildings, with a large number of modern ones housing most facilities and academic departments. Most date from the second half of the 20th century. Some of these echo the existing architecture of Old Aberdeen, such as the Fraser Noble Building with its distinctive concrete crown designed to resemble the one adorning King's College. Other buildings were constructed of stone in the 1950s (e.g. the Taylor Building and Meston Building). A number of other buildings are designed in the brutalist style, such as the Arts Lecture Theatre and adjoining William Guild Building, opened in 1969 to house the School of Psychology. Also on the site is the Cruickshank Botanic Garden which was presented to the university in 1899 and is open to the public.
The most recent building on campus is the Sir Duncan Rice Library, completed in 2011 and designed by Danish architects schmidt hammer lassen. It was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in September 2012 and named after Duncan Rice, a previous Principal of the university. This seven-storey tower, clad in zebra-like jagged stripes of white and clear glass, replaced the smaller Queen Mother Library as the university's main library and can be seen prominently from the entire campus and much of the city. It is open to the public and outstanding views of the city and coastline are available from the upper floors. In addition to expanded facilities it also houses public exhibition space and the University's historic collections, comprising more than a quarter of a million ancient and priceless books and manuscripts that have been collected over five centuries since the University's foundations. Other libraries are located in the Taylor Building on the same campus (for law books and materials) and at Foresterhill (for medicine and medical sciences). The university's library service (i.e. including all libraries) holds over one million books.
Marischal College 
Marischal College is a stately neo-Gothic building, having been rebuilt in 1836-41, and greatly extended several years later. Formerly an open three-sided court, the college now forms a quadrangle as additions to the buildings were opened by King Edward VII in 1906 and form the current facade from Broad Street. The building is widely considered to be one of the best examples of neo-Gothic architecture in Great Britain; the architect, Alexander Marshall Mackenzie was a native of Aberdeen. The Mitchell Tower at the rear is named for the benefactor (Dr Charles Mitchell) who paid the spectacular graduation hall. The opening of this tower in 1895 was part of celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the university.
Teaching no longer takes place at Marischal College, with many of the departments formerly based there having moved to King's College some decades previously. While graduations and other events (e.g. concerts) took place in the cathedral-like Mitchell Hall in the north wing, for many years much of the building (including the frontage to the street) was derelict. A restoration project was completed in 2011 and restored the building and its ornamentation to its former glory. It is now occupied by Aberdeen City Council and forms the administrative headquarters for the city, replacing the ageing St. Nicholas House across the street. The project provided state-of-the-art public facilities and office accommodation for the Council as well as cosmetic rejuvenation, and involved the demolition and reconstruction of internal spaces while retaining and restoring the outer walls and windows. The University still controls the north wing of the building containing the Marischal Museum and Mitchell Hall which was used in the past for graduation and other academic ceremonies. Graduations currently take place at the Elphinstone Hall at King's College.
The Foresterhill site contains the university's School of Medicine and Dentistry, medical library and associated modern buildings for teaching and research. It is located at Foresterhill in the West End of Aberdeen. It became part of the university's holdings in 1938 following the move of the Medical School and forms part of a modern teaching hospital complex alongside the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. The 41 hectare site is split between the university (owning around a third) and NHS Grampian.
A small campus at Hilton became part of the university estate following a merger in 2001 between the University and the Aberdeen campus of the Northern College, and temporarily became home to the university's Faculty of Education. It was located less than a mile southwest of King's College campus. Following the renovation of the MacRobert Building at Kings College to house the School of Education (completed in 2005), the Hilton campus was closed and sold to developers. The campus was demolished and the land is now occupied by a residential development called "The Campus".
University Rankings 
|Times Good University Guide||39||42||33||33||26||32||36||28||34=||20||19||19||26=||26=||36||33||28=||35=||41=||35=||29=|
|Sunday Times University Guide||40||-||27||34||34||35||37||39||44||50||48||49||37||44||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Guardian University Guide||38||33||34||23||26||-||52||35||66||44||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|The Complete University Guide||44||44||47||39||33||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|The Daily Telegraph||-||-||-||-||-||33||-||61||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|QS World University Rankings||162||141||117||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|THE International Rankings||176||151||149||129||153||137||195||267||194||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
Academic structure 
The university is divided into three colleges, which are further separated into a number of academic schools and other institutions (e.g. graduate schools, research institutes). These colleges are equivalent to faculties at other universities. Some large schools are sub-divided into departments (e.g. the Department of Archaeology is part of the School of Geosciences, which is part of the College of Physical Sciences). The Centre for Lifelong Learning is not part of any of the colleges and provides adult-education courses to the general public, even for those without the academic qualifications usually needed for admission to the university. Some of these courses lead to the award of a degree or another formal sub-degree qualification. In addition, numerous administrative departments support the university's activities.
College of Arts and Social Sciences 
There are also a number of Research Centres and Institutes
College of Life Sciences and Medicine 
and is supported by:
College of Physical Sciences 
Students and Student Life 
As of 2009/10 the university had around 14,000 students, of which 3900 were postgraduates. Students represented 120 different countries with about 46% men, 54% women. Of all of undergraduates, 19% were mature students (i.e. aged 25 years or more). The university has more than 590 different undergraduate degree programmes and more than 110 postgraduate taught programmes.
Student representation 
The student body is represented by a Students' Association known as Aberdeen University Students' Association (AUSA). Additionally, the elected Rector of the University of Aberdeen serves along with the Rector's Assessor and AUSA President as a students' representatives on the University Court. The Rector is currently businessman Maitland Mackie.
AUSA does not currently operate a traditional Student's Union (although students of the University of Aberdeen are able to use that of The Robert Gordon University). A large Student's Union formerly occupied an impressive granite building on the corner of Gallowgate and Upperkirkgate in the city centre, but it closed in 2003. The building has been derelict since that time. A second, smaller union opened at nearby Littlejohn Street a couple of years later but by 2010 it too had closed.
The organisation has been involved in the creation of "The Hub", a university-owned dining and social centre created by an extensive renovation of the former Central Refectory at the King's College campus. It provides facilities for the whole university community (students and staff) and opened in 2006. A more traditional social space, the Butchart Student Centre, opened in 2009. It acts as the HQ of the Students' Association and provides a wide range of student facilities, but due to city council licensing regulations there is no bar. Facilities at the Butchart Centre include a large cafe, second-hand bookstore, facilities for student societies, office accommodation and various others. The Butchart Centre was converted from what had been the campus sports centre before the opening of the Aberdeen Sports Village nearby.
There are over a hundred clubs and societies formally affiliated with the students' association. The students' association is responsible for sport at the university, which is managed by the Aberdeen University Sports Union, an AUSA committee. All registered students are eligible to join any of these clubs or societies.
The oldest student organisation at the university is the Aberdeen University Debater, the university's debating union, constituted in 1848. The first successful university newspaper, Alma Mater, began under the auspices of the Debater in 1883. In 1884, the Debater also took the first steps towards the introduction of a Students' Representative Council under support from Alexander Bain the then Rector. The creation of the Union in 1895 provided a new debating chamber in Marischal College and the first permanent home of the society. The chamber beneath Mitchell Hall in Marischal College is the oldest purpose-built debating chamber in Scotland.
The Aberdeen Future Fund is run by the Development Trust, a registered charity of Scotland, which seeks positive relationships and generosity of Aberdeen Alumni, in order to contribute to the high quality student experiences. Since founding in 1998, Aberdeen Future Fund has raised over £2.5 Million of unrestricted funds, thanks in large part to alumni. The individuals who speak to alumni to create and develop these relationships are students of the University of Aberdeen, so alumni can relate to younger generations through the University. Projects supported in the 2010/2011 year included The New Library, Sports clubs and societies, student scholarships, and medical research. Past projects have included a book fund for the Heavy Demand section in the library, providing "Safe Campus" leaflets, contributing to the student hardship fund, providing training mannequins for Clinical Skills, the organ for King's College Chapel, and funding for intramural sports.
University accommodation 
Halls of residence are managed by the University. Two large concentrations of University accommodation are provided on the campus in Old Aberdeen, consisting of Crombie-Johnston Halls (both individual but sister halls) and King's Hall. About a mile to the north, between Seaton park and bend in the River Don, lie the Hillhead halls of residence site. Here are a large number of self-catering flats, as well as a social centre with security staff, catering, sports and computer facilities, in addition to on-site launderettes, a bar (billed as "The Union") and a shop. In addition, other student accommodation in the city is owned and operated by private providers such as Unite Group.
Following their first year, the majority of students live in private accommodation off-campus or in privately owned halls of residence such as those of Unite Group. However, in recent years rents and availability of accommodation has seen more second and third year students returning to university halls. The University has advertised a "First-Year Accommodation Guarantee" in recent years, but due to the high demand for rental property in the rapidly growing city it has become increasingly difficult to fulfill the guarantee. At the start of the 2007-2008 term, the university ran out of rooms, and had to resort to temporary accommodation (including putting students into hotel rooms, and making kitchens, study rooms and common rooms into dorm rooms).
The students' association is responsible for sport at the university, which is managed by the Aberdeen University Sports Union, an AUSA committee.
There are large playing fields at the back of King's College. Across the road and a down another street lies Aberdeen Sports Village, a partnership between the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and sportscotland. The venue includes a nine-court indoor hall, full-sized synthetic football pitch, synthetic cricket wicket, fitness suite, squash courts and a sports performance lab among other facilities. The £28 million development on the site of the former Chris Anderson Stadium, opened on 24 August 2009. Aberdeen Sports Village served as one of the official pre-games training venues of the Cameroon Olympic Team prior to the London 2012 Olympic Games. An aquatics centre featuring a 10 lane 50m pool and diving complex is currently being constructed on the site and is expected to open in 2014.
There are a large number of ensembles at the University of Aberdeen. Some of these are directed by academic staff, while others are run by students both in and outwith the department:
- Balinese Gamelan
- Baroque Ensemble
- Big Band
- Cantores ad Portam
- Chapel Choir
- Choral Society
- Concert Band
- Elphinstone Fiddlers
- Flute Choir
- New Music Ensemble
- Steel Pans
- String Orchestra
- Symphony Orchestra
- Viol Consort
Student Media 
There are plenty of opportunities for students to be involved in Student Media at the University of Aberdeen.
- Main Article Ancient university governance in Scotland
In common with the other ancient universities in Scotland, the university's structure of governance is largely regulated by the Universities (Scotland) Acts. This gives the university a tripartite constitution comprising the General Council of senior academics and graduates, the University Court responsible for finances and administration, and the Academic Senate (Senatus Academicus)--the university's supreme academic body.
There are correspondingly three main officers of the university. It is nominally headed by the Chancellor, a largely ceremonial position traditionally held by the Bishop of Aberdeen but divorced from the see as a result of the Scottish Reformation and holders are now elected for life by the General Council. There is also a Rector of the University, who chairs the University Court and is elected by the students for a three-year term to represent their interests.
The administrative head and chief executive of the university is its Principal and Vice Chancellor. The Principal acts as chair of the Senatus Academicus and his status as Vice Chancellor enables him to perform the functions reserved to the Chancellor in the latter's absence, such as the awarding of degrees.
The Chancellor is the nominal head of the university. The current Chancellor since 2013 is Camilla, Duchess of Rothesay. The Chancellor, or, if necessary, his deputy, confers degrees on graduates and chairs the university's General Council.
Lord Rector 
The Rector of the university has been—since 1860—elected by the students to serve a three-year term of office; before that, the office was appointed. His duties are to chair meetings of the University Court and to represent student views on that body. In November 2011, a new Rector was elected by the student body of the University, Maitland Mackie, owner and chairman of Mackie's of Scotland.
Principal and vice-chancellor 
The principal and vice-chancellor of the university is Sir Ian Diamond, since 2010 April 1. Diamond was knighted in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to social science and higher education. He took over from Professor Sir Duncan Rice, who was Principal and Vice Chancellor from September 1996.
Notable alumni 
Many distinguished and renowned figures have studied at the University of Aberdeen. Most recently it has produced several leading figures in the UK Government, including the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling and the former Paymaster General, Tessa Jowell. Additionally, famous businessmen such as Stephen Carter and Will Whitehorn matriculated at UoA. Radio and television personalities such as Nicky Campbell, James Naughtie, Sandy Gall, Glen Oglaza and Derek Rae were also students here.
The University is well known in philosophical and theological circles. Thomas Reid, the founder of the Scottish School of Common Sense, and an important figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, earned his degree from Marischal College. Robert Adamson and theologian William Robinson Clark also went here. Other academics who started here include Andrew Ross, Colin Campbell, Oliver D. Crisp and James Legge. Prizes awarded to alumni include the Lumsden and Sachs Fellowship.
Alumni of the medical faculty include Patrick Manson, who first proposed malaria was transmitted by mosquito, founder of the tropical medicine field and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Manson also found Dairy Farm in 1886, now a leading pan-Asian retailer and a listed company on the London Stock Exchange. The Kai Tak Airport was namesaked after Kai Ho, who along with Patrick Manson and Graeme Cantlie established the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese in 1887, which later became University of Hong Kong in 1911. Sun Yat-Sen was also educated by Aberdeen University alumni at the Hong Kong College of Medicine for Chinese. Peter Shepherd introduced the concept of teaching first aid to civilians. Another Aberdeen graduate, James Cantlie, published Shepherd's lecture notes as "first aid to the injured"following Shepherd's death in the Battle of Isandlwana in 1879.
Ali Smith, the author of the Booker Prize nominated novel Hotel World and the Whitbread Award winning novel The Accidental, took her undergraduate degree here. Contemporary playwright Simon Farquhar; science fiction writer Adam Roberts, Thomas Urquhart and Archibald Forbes are also alumni known in literary circles.
Those known in architectural circles include William Thornton, the designer of the United States Capitol and Charles Mitchell who worked with John Dobson and commissioned the elegant art nouveau church of St George's Jesmond from Thomas Ralph Spence.
Other figures include botanists C. H. Gimingham and M. R. Henderson; plant pathologist Lawrence Ogilvie; ornithologist J. D. Macdonald; actor Iain Glen; mountaineer Tom Patey; Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong Frederick Stewart; former leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Nicol Stephen; Taliban kidnap victim Linda Norgrove; and James Blair, the founder of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA; also William Gregg, Spy, studied Divinity at King's College, executed by hanging 1708. The first Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Skënder Hyseni in 1986.
- Prof. Richard Dawkins, David Attenborough, Denis Law and J.K. Rowling are some of the high profile names to be awarded an honorary degree from the university.
Nobel Prize winners 
- George Paget Thomson Professor of Natural Philosophy (Physics) at Aberdeen from 1922 to 1930, together with the American physicist C J Davisson "for their (independent) experimental discovery of the diffraction of electrons by crystals". (1937)
- John James Rickard Macleod Jointly with Frederick Banting, for the research which led to the development of insulin as a treatment for diabetes. (1923)
- John Boyd Orr, 1st Baron Boyd-Orr Director of the Rowett Institute and Professor of Agriculture from 1942 to 1945, in recognition of his contribution to the worldwide fight against hunger. (1949)
- Frederick Soddy, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Aberdeen from 1914 to 1919, for his work on radioactivity and isotopes (1921)
- Richard Laurence Millington Synge A biochemist with the Rowett Institute from 1948 to 1967, for the invention of partition chromatography - a technique used in the separation mixtures of similar chemicals that revolutionised analytical chemistry (1952)
See also 
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|Wikisource has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia article Aberdeen, University of.|
- University of Aberdeen website
- Aberdeen University Debater website
- University of Aberdeen Students' Association