Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was not only one of the world’s greatest industrialists, he was also one of the most prolific and influential philanthropists of the modern age. Appreciating that the accumulation of great wealth brought its own responsibilities, he sought to discharge those responsibilities by using his money for the social good. He was a passionate advocate of education and funded the creation of public libraries throughout the United States and around the world, allowing free access to knowledge and ideas that would encourage social and educational advancement for all. He also devoted time and money to initiatives that supported the arts, scientific research, world peace and the promotion of democracy.
Andrew Carnegie, who was born in Fife, was elected Rector of Scotland’s first university, St Andrews, in 1901, a position he held until 1907. At his rectoral installation in 1902, Andrew Carnegie spoke of his very great affection for St Andrews, “I am hereafter one more St Andrews man who will proclaim the indefinable charm under whose potent spell I now stand before you.” His affection manifested itself not just in his representation of the student body in his role of Rector, but in a number of very generous donations that he made to the University, including funds for a gymnasium, playing fields and an extension to the library. His foresight provided firm foundations on which the University’s success of the last 100 years has been built.
“I am hereafter one more St Andrews man who will proclaim the indefinable charm under whose potent spell I now stand before you.”