Congratulations to everyone at the university on being named Scottish University of the Year for 2019. You are riding high and exciting developments are taking place all the time.

Ladies and gentlemen, and distinguished members of the University
 
It is a particular pleasure to be here again today as the proud Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen.
 
Today is the sixteenth of January, a notable day in Scottish history. Today in 1707 the Scottish parliament ratified the Act of Union paving the way for the creation of Great Britain. Today in 1915 the Scottish novelist John Buchan completed the first draft of his great adventure story, The 39 Steps. And today in 2019, I have the honour of presiding at the formal installation of Professor George Boyne as the University’s new principal and vice-chancellor.
 
May I congratulate you, Professor Boyne, on your new appointment. Famously, John Buchan said, ‘It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.’  Given that you are an Aberdonian yourself, I know you won’t weaken: Aberdonians are made of stern stuff. And given your deep understanding and experience of public sector administration, I know that you will be more than equal to the challenges involved in running a great university in the twenty-first century.
 
You have rightly reminded us of the mission of the university’s founder, William Elphinstone, back in 1495: ‘...to found a university, which would be open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others.’
 
This university is open to all. It’s a community of 120 different nationalities and I know that you are actively building greater and stronger international relationships - currently at Curtin in Australia, and in Qatar. I wish you well with these exciting projects.
 
Congratulations to everyone at the university on being named Scottish University of the Year for 2019. You are riding high and exciting developments are taking place all the time.  May I also say how proud my husband and I were, earlier this year, to award The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Health Services on behalf of Her Majesty. Today I am visiting your School for Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition at Foresterhill. This is one of several areas in medicine where you are doing new research and providing ever better services. And I much look forward to hearing more about it later.
 
John Buchan – my Scottish author of the day, born in Fife not Aberdeen (but you can’t have everything) – was a keen fisherman.  He used to say: ‘The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable – a perpetual series of occasions for hope.’
 
These are challenging times, no doubt, but I feel today, Vice-Chancellor, with your installation as the university’s new leader this is indeed one of those ‘occasions for hope’. 
 
I will finish with one more quotation from John Buchan: ‘The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.’ 
 
This is a great university, with a great heritage and the prospect of many great things to come. I wish you well in your office, Vice-Chancellor, and I wish the university and all its members well this year and in the years to come. It is a great honour for me to be part of such of a very special community.
 
Thank you very much.