University opens its doors to mark milestone 50th anniversary

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CPR lecture

The University of Stirling threw its doors open to the community for a day of discovery this weekend, to celebrate its milestone 50th anniversary.

Thousands of people were welcomed onto campus on Saturday, 18 March, to explore packed timetable of free activities, highlighting the University’s flair for innovation and history of 50 years of life on campus.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “It was tremendous to see so many people - alumni, retired staff, and local families - visit the University and join staff and students to mark 50 years of inspiring learning and teaching, and impactful research. Openness is one of our key values and there’s no better way to celebrate our vibrant history than by opening our doors to the local community to celebrate our collective heritage.

“At Stirling we encourage people to open their minds and make a real difference in the world. I hope today’s activities showcasing Stirling over the last half-century has fascinated, inspired and enthused our visitors.”

The day’s programme included a hands-on science fair, a scavenger hunt and a chance to learn CPR skills. There was a fantastic response to our call for people to share their memories of the University with numerous photographs catalogued and oral history interviews recorded – ensuring that all the memories collected on the day will be added to the University’s Archives.

Public engagement

Members of the public had the chance to delve into a programme of engaging science cabaret talks, short lectures and activities covering a range of fascinating subjects, from Brexit, history, creative writing, poetry readings through to tours of the Art Collection. The rare opportunity to see the Victorian Columbian Printing press in operation and print a commemorative bookmark to keep was a clear favourite with families who clearly enjoyed learning about the traditional printing techniques and the history of printing in Scotland. 

Children from Bridge of Allan Primary School curated a special time capsule which was buried on campus, to be dug up in 2067.

There was also an opportunity for visitors to hear from Stirling Honorary Graduate, and former headteacher of St. Ninian’s Primary School, Elaine Wyllie. Local children donned their trainers to show members of the public how they can benefit from taking part in The Daily Mile. Stirling scientists are currently examining the impact of the initiative on children’s health.

Stirling Council Head of Communities and People, Alan Milliken, who spoke at the Open Day on the success of Stirling’s Daily Mile initiative, said: “We have been working closely with the University of Stirling scientists as they study the impact of the Daily Mile on our pupils and we look forward to the results of this important project. This is just one example of the University being a key partner in contributing to positive changes across the Stirling area and beyond.”

Professor Linda Bauld, Dean of Research Impact at the University, added: “The research we do at Stirling aims to make a difference to society and address key global challenges. Open Doors Day was a great opportunity for us to bring our teaching and research activities to life and showcase some of the work that is contributing to positive changes in and around Stirling, the rest of the UK and internationally.”

Stirling was Scotland’s first new university in more than 400 years and gained its Royal Charter in 1967. Events are planned throughout the year to celebrate the half-century anniversary and showcase the University’s unique history, culture and achievements.

Background information

Media enquiries to Corrie Campbell, Communications Officer, on 01786 466 169 or