The University of Stirling is a public university founded by Royal charter in 1967. It is a plate glass university located in the Central Belt of Scotland, built within the walled Airthrey Castleestate close to Stirling. Since its foundation, it has expanded to four faculties, a Management School, a Graduate School, and a number of institutes and centres covering a broad range of subjects in the academic areas of arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and health sciences and sport.
The university campus is approximately 360 acres (1.5 km2) in size, incorporating the Stirling University Innovation Park and the Dementia Centre. The campus, with its wildlife, loch and greenery, and located in the foothills of the Scottish Highlands, is often cited as among the most beautiful in the UK. In 2002, the University of Stirling and the landscape of the Airthrey Estate was designated by the International Council on Monuments and Sites as one of the UK's top 20 heritage sites of the 20th century. The institution also occupies buildings in the city of Stirling.
The university attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds, with more than 14,000 part-time and full-time students enrolled in the 2016/17 academic year. Stirling has international degree programme partnerships in China with Hebei Normal University, Singapore with Singapore Institute of Management, Oman and Vietnam. The university has two other Scottish campuses - in Inverness and Stornoway.
Stirling was the first new university to be established in Scotland for nearly 400 years. The original site of the campus was selected from a shortlist of competing sites, which include Falkirk, Perth and Inverness. The author of the Robbins Review, which recommended an expansion of the number of universities in the UK during the 1960s, Lord Robbins, was appointed as the University's first Chancellor in 1968. In 1967 a house for the University Principal Tom Cottrell was completed, designed by architects Morris and Steedman. It was listed as category A in 2009.
The Pathfoot Building opened in 1967
The Pathfoot Building, which represented the first phase of development on the campus, was completed in 1968 and originally housed lecture theatres, offices and classrooms in addition to the iconic 'crush hall' where the university displayed its emerging collection of contemporary Scottish art. The building was extended in 1979 to include a Tropical Aquarium and again in 1987 to include a Virology Unit associated with the university's Institute of Aquaculture. In 1993, the Pathfoot Building was selected by the international conservation organisation DoCoMoMo as one of sixty key Scottish monuments of the post-war era. It was also voted as one of Prospect's 100 best modern Scottish buildings. In 1970, development began on what was subsequently named the Cottrell Building, in memory of the university's first principal Cottrell. It comprises two parallel buildings with cross link corridors and interspersed courtyard gardens. The building today houses most of the university administration, lecture theatres, departmental offices, classrooms and computer laboratories. The University Library, Atrium and MacRobert Centre are housed in an adjoining building, the Andrew Miller Building, which was completed in 1971.
On 13 October 1972, during a visit to the new campus by HM The Queen, she was subjected to a rowdy reception by students, widely reported in the media. The students were protesting about the lack of social spaces in what was at the time a relatively newly built university. The 24 students involved were charged for the disruption, but charges were later dropped.There were no further Royal visits until 2011, when Prince Edward formally opened the refurbished library.
A department of Business studies was set up in 1982. The Institute of Aquaculture, a research institute specialising in fish farming and genetics, opened the same year. In 1983 it sold 300 acres of land to Wang Laboratories. The R.G. Bomont Building (named after the second University Secretary), which houses the Faculty of Social Science, was completed in 1998. The Iris Murdoch building was opened in 2002 to house The Dementia Services Development Centre, and the Colin Bell Building was completed in 2003.