The money was donated by Frank and Beverley MacInnis, a US-based couple who made their fortune in engineering and construction.
The couple’s son, Robert, completed a double degree at the university, graduating with a PhD in 2010,after earning a BSc in computer science in 2005. The donation is said to be one of the biggest pledges ever made to a Scottish university and was given on the condition that it is used to help consolidate St Andrews’ position among the top five universities in the UK.
It will specifically support St Andrews’ new Scottish Oceans Institute and a PhD scholarship in physics and astronomy.
Frank and Beverley, who are originally from Alberta, Canada, have been connected to St Andrews through their son’s double degree, and while resident in Connecticut, their love of St Andrews, the university, golf, and the town’s special environment, led them to build a multi-award winning new home on The Scores, in 2016, which they visit regularly.
Mr MacInnis said: “Beverley, a former teacher, and I recognise the transformative powers of education, and the important difference philanthropy can make. When we spoke to Principal [Sally] Mapstone about her vision for St Andrews, we had an immediate sense of engagement with her plans for the university. We are delighted to make our family’s support known at this time, and it brings us pleasure to help enable world leading research at St Andrews, both in marine science and in the latest neurological research in physics.
“It is also important to our family to make our commitment to St Andrews in a public way, to encourage others to support the University in whatever way they can.”
Professor Mapstone, St Andrews principal and vice-chancellor, added: “This wonderfully generous gift from Frank and Beverley MacInnis enables us to launch the new strategy for the University of St Andrews with confidence and strong belief. Frank and Beverley share our commitment to education, to our community, local, national, and international, and to transforming lives for the better.
“They are our friends and our advocates in equal measure.”