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Installation of new Rector

Staff and students are invited to attend a historic ceremony in which Peter McColl will be installed as the next University Rector.

Mr McColl will be officially installed as Rector in a ceremony at the University’s Playfair Library.

This will begin with an academic procession led by the Principal, Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, after which Mr McColl will be adorned with the Rectorial robes.

Rectorial installation ceremony

The Rectorial installation will start at 1pm on Tuesday, 3 April, at the Playfair Library at Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH8 9YL.

Bookings for free tickets

Location of Old College

Chairing of Rector

After the ceremony in the Playfair Library, Mr McColl will proceed - weather permitting - to the Old College Quadrangle.

Following tradition, he will then be held aloft in a Sedan chair and carried around the quad by his supporters.

The ceremony will be the first Rectorial installation to take place since the renovation of the Old College Quad.

After the chairing of the Rector, staff and students are invited to return to the Playfair Library Hall to join the Principal and Rector for light refreshments.

Role of the Rector

The Rector chairs the University Court, the governing body of the University, and is elected every three years.

The Rector also chairs meetings of the General Council in absence of the Chancellor.

The role was established in law by an 1858 Act of Parliament, with William Gladstone the first person to be installed as Rector at the University the following year.

Mr McColl’s Rectorship is the 54th at the University. He is the 51st person to hold the post, with two with Rectors holding the position for two terms.

Peter McColl

Mr McColl came to Edinburgh in 1998 to read geography and holds both an undergraduate degree and Masters from the University.

He was Vice President of the Students’ Association at Edinburgh from 2001-02 and had been President of the University’s People and Planet society prior to that.

Mr McColl worked as an advisor to Mark Ballard MSP, who was also Rector from 2006-2009. Mr McColl was Mr Ballard’s assessor while he was Rector.

Old College Quad

The renovation of the Old College Quad completed the vision of architect William Playfair more than two centuries on.

During excavations of the Quad, archaeologists found remnants of buildings that became infamous as the site where Lord Darnley, the second husband of Mary Queen of Scots, was murdered.

Items uncovered also included chemical powders and glass laboratory equipment believed to be part of the laboratory of Professor Joseph Black, who discovered carbon dioxide.

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