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‘Proud day’ as sports pundit Jim Spence celebrates becoming new Dundee University rector…with pint of Guinness

Sports broadcaster and writer Jim Spence was officially installed as Dundee University’s new rector on Monday as 3,000 new students began their studies.

The role will see Mr Spence, a born and bred Dundonian, serve students after being elected for a three-year term.

Jim Spence with his first pint of traditional ‘drag’.

Having graduated in Law from the university in 1986, he returns to his alma mater where he will also serve on the University Court, the governing body of the institution.

Speaking ahead of his rectorial installation, the Courier columnist and podcaster described the position, previously held by record-breaking long-distance Perthshire cyclist Mark Beaumont, as an “honour”.

He said: “It’s a very proud day. I graduated from the university myself a long time ago as a mature student so it’s exciting for me.

“I think it’s important that the city’s got someone that’s local to fill the role — someone that knows the area and is about here a lot.

“I look forward to doing my very best for the students.

“It was a surprise to be named. When I was asked to stand I assumed there would be another half a dozen names in the hat but here I am.

“There’s some illustrious footsteps to follow isn’t there?”

Jim Spence on stage making his address as he is officially named Dundee University rector.

Mr Spence delivered an inspiring speech to the packed Caird Hall students who listened intently to his advice.

Describing Dundee as having a “big, soft heart” and a strong sense of humour, he urged the crowd to make the most of their time studying in the city.

He compared their journey to that of the famous Dundee-built ship RRS Discovery while stressing his door will always be open to provide support and advice.

Following the ceremony, he joined students at Dundee University Students’ Association (DUSA) to take part in the traditional “drag” which sees the new rector transported around the city’s bars.

Professor Andrew Atherton, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the new students to Dundee.

He said: “This is one of the real highlights of the academic calendar for me.

“Every year the university is refreshed and strengthened by the arrival of a new generation of students, and it is great to see so many arriving in the city from around the world.

“It is not just the university but the whole city which is transformed by the return of our student population.

“The city also plays its role in making this one of the best places to be a student, something which I am sure our new arrivals will find in their time here.

“I am also delighted to welcome Jim Spence in to our university community.

“I am sure Jim will represent the students’ interests and take a great interest in their activities and achievements.”

Previous rectors

Peter Ustinov

Clement Freud

Lord Mackie of Benshie

Gordon Wilson MP

Malcolm Bruce MP

Paul Henderson Scott

Stephen Fry

Tony Slattery

Fred MacAulay

Lorraine Kelly

Craig Murray

Brian Cox

Mark Beaumont

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