Appointment of William Robertson as Principal of Edinburgh University, 1762

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The appointment of William Robertson (1721-1793) as Principal in 1762 was pivotal in turning Edinburgh University into a major centre of Enlightenment thought.

Intitally working in conjunction with the The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, George Drummond (1688-1766), his major administrative reforms included reactivating the Senatus Academicus, reforming the degree structure and curriculum, and establishing a Library Fund.

New Professorships that were established under Robertson include:

The Chair of Botany was elevated to a Regius Professorship, and a new Botanical Garden was opened in 1763.

Improvements to University buildings included a new extension for the University Library, a new natural history museum, and plans for a new college building which would only see fruition after Robertson's death.

Robertson's influence proved vital in elevating the academic standing of the University throughout Britain and Europe. A roll-call of major appointments under his Principalship includes: