Yesterday, the Rt Hon Dame Elish Angiolini, the former Solicitor General and Lord Advocate for Scotland, was installed as Chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland at an official ceremony held in the Thomas Coats Memorial Babtist Church in Paisley (the same church where graduation ceremonies are held), followed by a reception in the Brough Hall of the University’s main campus.
It was very pleasing and uplifting to see an excellent turnout of both staff and non-staff alike, as approximately a hundred academics (myself included) took part in the robed procession, with several hundred students, members of the public etc. seated in the church itself.
The ceremony itself kicked off with Elish being awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University, and there were addresses to the congregation by both the University’s new Principal, Professor Craig Mahoney and the Dean of Students, Professor Anne McGillivray.
Whilst the robing itself took place, there was a musical interlude from the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, and speaking as an ex-Orchestra player myself I have to say that they were absolutely fantastic, especially so given the young age of the majority of their members. Special mention should go to their rendition of the Lament on the Death of his second Wife composed by Niel Gow, a very unusual and softly played work, which was handled beautifully.
Following an excellent and heartfelt closing speech by Dame Angiolini herself, the ceremony was closed. I was lucky enough to have a brief chat with Elish after the ceremony in the robing room, and she certainly seemed every bit as thrilled to be appointed to the position as the University is to have her accept it. I have no doubt whatsoever that Dame Elish Angiolini will be an inspirational ambassador for the University of the West of Scotland. Hopefully too with an appointment from such a background, it will be a shot in the arm for the law department at UWS in what has been a very trying past couple of years.