University Of Aberdeen Notable Alumni
Alastair Darling, Patrick Manson, Thomas Reid, James Blair, Alexander Bain, William Thornton
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 Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling and the former Paymaster General, Tessa Jowell. The former Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Stephen House, is also an alumnus. 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 there.
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, James Legge as well as William Smith the first Provost of what is now the University of Pennsylvania. 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; dermatologist Sir James Galloway; 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; Sports Broadcaster Tyrone Smith of STV News; 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.
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.