|Edinburgh university founded 1583|
My younger son was working down near Cambridge as an engineer, when a colleague asked him what kind of degree did he have from a mickey mouse university like Aberdeen anyway? (The cheek and ignorance!) My English brother-in-law also used to talk of how England subsidized Scotland and that Scots were merely scroungers. I am tired of the English talking Scotland down! Why are we in such negative competition, rather than co-operating? Once Scots were leaders.
I have visited Aberdeen campus several times and was highly impressed with the historic buildings, it was obvious Aberdeen was one of the worlds oldest universities, established 1495. So I thought I’d look at the UK’s oldest universities.
What happened to those brave Scots who were leaders in the Empire 1700s, traders, explorers, inventers, innovators, educators, ship builders – when once we were partners? But no more. That all stopped over a century ago. When the British empire was established in the 1700s, they depended on the educated Scots as their bookkeepers, explorers, surveyors, scientists, philosophers, scholars, poets, engineers,. At this time Scotland boasted four leading universities and its population was 1m compared to England at 4m.
|Aberdeen University Kings college founded 1495|
It wasn’t until 400 years later, in the 1800s that England set up universities. Manchester 1824, London 1826, Durham 1832.
|Surgeons Hall Edinburgh founded 1726|
Over the past decade I have been researching Scotia’s past and realised ‘Auld Scotia’ led the world with education, reform, philosophy and enlightened though. The great French philosopher and historian Voltaire (1694-1778) said 'We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation'. At this time European thinkers challenged old ideas about almost every aspect of life. They argued that the way forward was to use “reason” when seeking answers to questions.
Scots founded Americas top universities. I heard Tom Devine discuss the profound influence of Scots on Americans universities. Scots scholars went over to America and founded several centres of learning. Scots Americans were crucially involved in setting up centres of learning and universities there and were some of American’s Founding Fathers. They were profoundly important to the American constitution – such as the Scottish Enlightenment figures and the influence of Scottish Moral Philosophy. Notably Scot John Witherspoon founded Princeton and educated future president James Madison, 28 senators, 49 congressmen and 39 judges.
(3) University of Aberdeen (1495) reaches back more than 500 years: Originally founded in 1495 as King’s College, and thus the 5th-oldest university in the UK, it merged in 1860 with Marischal College. Today, the University of Aberdeen regularly ranks among the top 200 universities in the world. Notable alumni include actor Iain Glen (Game of Thrones) and author Ali Smith.
(4) University of Edinburgh founded in 1583 – famous scientists studied here: theory of evolution Charles Darwin, statistician Thomas Bayes, famous physicist James Clerk Maxwell.
It wasn’t until 400 years later in the 1800s that England developed their universities (5) University of Manchester founded 1824: (6) University College London founded 1826 a collegiate federal university that now includes almost 20 colleges. Alumni roster Francis Crick (co-discoverer of the DNA), Ricky Gervais (actor), Coldplay, and Mahatma Gandhi. (7) Durham University founded(1832)
***The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge had both been founded 1096 as a centres of Theology and training for clerics. University of Oxford 1096 and the University of Cambridge was founded in 1209. This changed with new colleges around the 1400s.
"Americans built their world around the principles of Adam Smith and Thomas Reid of individual interest governed by common sense and a limited need for government.' Historian Arthur L Herman
|Glasgow University founded 1451|