Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 18, 2005

Scotland's First Minister to Visit U of G

Scotland’s top political leader will visit the University of Guelph this month. First Minister Jack McConnell will tour the University's Scottish archival collection, the largest in North America, and meet with faculty and graduate students of the Scottish studies program Oct. 28. At 2:30 p.m., he will give a public talk in Room 103 of Rozanski Hall.

“We are sincerely honoured that the first minister has chosen to visit Guelph,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee. “We’re home to the finest Scottish studies program on the continent and this visit is a true testament to its quality and reputation.”

McConnell will be accompanied by Tom Devine, a professor of Irish and Scottish studies and director of the Arts and Humanities Research Board for Irish and Scottish studies at Scotland’s University of Aberdeen.

"This is a political visit of the highest level, and we are thrilled that U of G will pay host to the first minister during his Canadian tour," said Prof. Graeme Morton, chair of the Scottish studies program at U of G. “The business, educational, tourism and family links between Canada and Scotland remain so vital that it is no surprise that the first minister is making this trip to bring the two nations closer and to encourage these relationships to develop and grow.”

McConnell began his political career in 1984 as a member of the Stirling District Council, before being named general secretary of the Scottish Labour Party in 1992. He has also been a member of the Scottish Constitutional Convention, a finance minister and an education minister. He was appointed Scotland's third first minister, head of the Scottish Executive in the newly devolved Scottish Parliament, in 2001.

The University of Guelph was selected as a venue because it’s been a leader in Scottish studies since the 1960s. Guelph currently has the only graduate program in North America devoted to the study of Scotland and the achievements of people of Scottish descent around the world. The interdisciplinary program explores the role of the Scots in terms of immigration, settlement and ethnicity, and the Scottish contribution to the culture and history of Canada.

"The Scottish studies program is at the heart of the members of the Scottish-Canadian community who gave their time and money to establish it,” said Morton. “They will be acknowledged and thanked by McConnell for their faith and dedication during his visit. This is where the future teachers and researchers of Scotland's history and culture are being trained. For our students from Scotland this visit is a little reminder to their friends and family back home that U of G is giving them an education to be proud of."

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, Ext. 56982.

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