A principal and vice-chancellor who brought Scotland’s oldest university to first place in a prestigious university guide has been recognised in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours list.
Professor Dame Sally Mapstone DBE FRSE, who is the second woman in succession to hold this role at St Andrews University, is a celebrated medievalist and a leading figure in Scottish and UK higher education.
Appointed principal in 2016, she steered the university in Fife to top of the list in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022, the first time any university has broken the 30-year Oxbridge duopoly at the top of UK university rankings.
Prof Mapstone, who has written and edited eight books on Older Scots and Middle English literature, is also the first female president of the Saltire Society, which champions Scottish culture, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
She is a board member of Universities UK, chairwoman of the Higher Education Policy Institute, vice-chair of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, was recently elected convener of Universities Scotland and was the first UK university leader to receive a medal from the US Foreign Policy Association of America for her international leadership in higher education.
A lifelong champion of diversity and efforts to widen access to higher education, Prof Mapstone has led access initiatives for Universities Scotland, helping to increase the numbers of students from disadvantaged and care-experienced backgrounds attending universities north and south of the border.
Also making the honours list this year is Dr Isobel Falconer MBE, a leading maths historian at the university and whose research focuses on the relationship between maths and physics in the 19th century.
Dr Falconer has helped develop and modernise the university’s MacTutor history of mathematics archive, a free online resource containing biographies of more than 3,000 mathematicians and over 2,000 pages of essays and supporting materials.
With over two million hits per week from users based in 180 countries, the MacTutor archive is considered one of the most authoritative mathematics resources available worldwide.
The MacTutor archive aims to overcome gender and ethnic stereotypes, highlighting, thanks to the work of Dr Falconer, often overlooked figures from the world of mathematics.
Stephen Stewart MBE, director of Saints Sport, the university’s department of sport and exercise, will also be knighted as part of the Queen’s honours.
He has been hailed as a champion of inclusivity in sport by the university, and a pioneer of using the power of sport, volunteering and education to support disadvantaged communities.
Mr Stewart is a founder of the Wallace Group, a collaboration of seven universities in the UK with a shared interest in promoting sports and health workshops in developing countries.
He is closely involved in the Volunteer Zambia project, a Wallace Group initiative which supports partnership between Sport In Action and Zambia’s National Sports Federations and Sports Associations to develop a network of Community Sport Hubs in Africa.
He has worked with UK Sport, the Zambian Minister for Sport, the British High Commissioner in Zambia, and the Zambian First Family to transform the life chances of thousands of Zambian youngsters through the power of sport and education.