University of Glasgow

University Tower, University of Glasgow
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

University Tower, University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the second largest in Scotland with 35,000 students, 9800 staff and an annual income of £813 million (2022), all of these having grown markedly in the preceding decade. Its major part forms a compact campus at Gilmorehill, on the banks of the River Kelvin, in the West End of Glasgow. In addition, there is a separate Veterinary Faculty, residences and sports facilities 4 miles (6 km) away at Garscube, an Education Faculty in Bearsden and a further campus on the former Crichton Estate 62 miles (100 km) to the south in Dumfries, which was created in 1999.

Founded in 1451, when King James II persuaded Pope Nicholas V to grant a bull authorising Bishop Turnbull of Glasgow to create a University around his cathedral, here the University remained until the 17th Century when it moved to the High Street. The University relocated once again in 1871, moving to its current site at Gilmorehill. The immense main building was designed in the Gothic style by Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811-78) and has become one of the city's best known landmarks. The Gilbert Scott Building contains both the Bute Hall, designed for graduations, and the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel. Other notable buildings at Gilmorehill include the circular MacMillan Reading Room (1939), the University Library (1968), Hunterian Museum & Kelvin Art Gallery (1972) and the Boyd-Orr Building (1972). Its Small Animal Hospital, which features a sweeping 'green' roof, won the Andrew Doolan Award for the Best Building in Scotland in 2009.

The University gave land to the west of its Gilmorehill Campus in 1878 to build the Western Infirmary but regained the 5.7-ha (14-acre) site following the closure of this hospital in 2015. The area is being redeveloped to provide a mix of teaching, research and public spaces at an eventual cost estimated at £1 billion.

The University provides teaching and research in 8 faculties; Arts, Divinity, Law and Financial Studies; Social Sciences; Medicine (including Dentistry and Nursing); Engineering; Science and Veterinary Medicine and has more students in science-based courses than any other in the UK outside London. The Medical School is the largest in Europe. The University also houses UK and international research centres for Computer-based engineering Design, Human Communication and Computer-based Information Transfer, Parasitology and Virus Research, Heart disease and Cancer. The University is also a centre for research in Housing Policy and Economics, Employment and Business History.

The University has one of the oldest, most extensive and valuable libraries in the UK.

Its academics included physiologist Prof. William Cullen (1710-90), Prof. Joseph Black (1728-99), who discovered carbon dioxide, pioneering surgeon Prof. Sir William MacEwen (1848 - 1924), economist Sir Alec Cairncross (1911-98) and inventor of the ultrasound scanner Prof. Ian Donald (1910-87). Notable amongst its many graduates are the traveller James Boswell (1740-95), Cosmo Lang (1864 - 1945), who became Archbishop of Canterbury , author John Buchan (1875 - 1940), nutritionist and Nobel Prize winner John Boyd Orr (1880 - 1971), inventor John Logie Baird (1888 - 1946), playwright James Bridie (1888 - 1951), author A.J. Cronin (1896 - 1981), virologist Alick Isaacs (1921 - 1967), broadcaster Andrew Neil (b.1949), together with First Ministers Donald Dewar (1937 - 2000) and Nicola Sturgeon (b.1970).

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