Stirling alumni joined thousands of merry participants marching through the streets of New York for the 2015 Tartan Day Parade celebration on Saturday (11 April).
The Stirling group marched up Manhattan’s 6th Avenue in the huge annual event which showcases the best of Scottish culture, promotes Scotland in North America, and celebrates the links between the two countries.
Each year, the Parade attracts hundreds of pipers and drummers, thousands of marchers, as well as tens of thousands of spectators from around the world.
This was the first year the University of Stirling was represented in the event, reflecting the growing community of Stirling alumni now based in North America.
Valentina Szlashta, from Rhode Island, who graduated in 2013 from Stirling with an MLitt in Film Studies, said: “My time at Stirling was fantastic and I really miss the campus - so it's amazing to meet up, represent the University in NYC and feel like I'm back in a Stirling environment. This is my first time at Tartan Week and it's a huge honour to be here.”
Steve Bedwell of Connecticut studied a BAcc in Accountancy at Stirling, graduating in 1993. He marched in the parade in his Stirling University Clansmen American Football Alumni shirt.
Steve said: “It's always impressive to see the Scottish Universities at Tartan Week, and I'm so so proud to see a strong representation from Stirling this year. I have a lot of pride in being a graduate of the University and this is a great way to bring people together and celebrate our shared experiences.”
The Tartan Day Parade is the pinnacle of the annual Tartan Week celebrations in which New York celebrates its Scottish-American heritage. The Parade was led by actor and Outlander star Graham McTavish – the 2015 New York Tartan Day Parade Grand Marshal – alongside the Rt. Hon. Tricia Marwick, MSP, Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. Past marshals have included Sir Sean Connery, Brian Cox, Kevin McKidd and Alan Cumming and former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
The Stirling alumni also attended a special drinks reception for Scottish university alumni on Friday 10 April in New York’s Soho area. Hosted by Cabinet Secretary Keith Brown MSP on behalf of the Scottish Government, the event brought together alumni from all of the Scottish Universities participating in the Tartan Week celebrations.
Tartan Week is held annually in April, and is organised by The American-Scottish Foundation, New York Caledonian Club, The St. Andrews Society of the State of New York and The Clan Campbell Society of North America.