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Lord Dean attends unveiling of memorial to economist Adam Smith

A memorial to pioneering economist Adam Smith has been unveiled at the original site of the University of Glasgow. The engraving of five paving stones on High Street, where the University was based from 1451 to 1870, is part of the institution’s celebrations to commemorate the 300th anniversary of one of its most famous former students. 

Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Jacqueline McLaren, unveiled the engraved stones at a ceremony on Monday 4th December. She was joined by the University of Glasgow’s Rector, the Honourable Lady Rae; Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli; and the students who have helped to make Adam Smith’s tercentenary year a global success. The ceremony was followed by a civic reception at the City Chambers, hosted by the Lord Provost. 

The five paving stones feature quotes from Smith’s seminal works, The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments, key dates, and the University of Glasgow’s specially commissioned tercentenary logo. They were engraved by local stonemason business, Forever Memorials. 

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow said: 

“I want to praise the remarkable efforts made worldwide this year to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Adam Smith. The University of Glasgow is Smith’s intellectual home, and we are proud to lead the way in evaluating his legacy, through conversations and learning for a 21st century audience. It has been fantastic to see so many people from all walks of life engaging with our tercentenary programme throughout the past year. 

“Much of Smith’s work and thinking was developed through his interactions with Glasgow and its citizens. This memorial on the site of Smith’s old stamping ground is therefore a fitting tribute, and one which will be visible to future generations – we are grateful to the city of Glasgow for their support in making this happen.” 

Smith, born in Kirkcaldy in 1723, started his studies at the University of Glasgow aged 14. In 1740, he was awarded the Snell Scholarship, which is still in existence today, and left to study at Oxford. In 1751, Smith returned to Glasgow as a Professor of Logic, later becoming Professor of Moral Philosophy. While at Glasgow, Smith published the first edition of The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759, developing upon the principles and concepts explored in his lectures. Smith published arguably his most famous work The Wealth of Nations in 1776 and died in 1790. He is considered to be the founder of modern economics. 

The commemorations this year have inspired a renewed discussion about him and his world changing ideas, and their relevance to the challenges of the 21st century.

The Lord Dean was honoured to attend the unveiling on behalf of the Merchants House and extended his thanks for the invitation.

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