Shetlandic welcome for guests at university opening


Shetland schoolgirl Rona Learmonth has welcomed approximately 800 guests using the Shetlandic dialect to the new University of the Highlands and Islands at the official academic robing ceremony. 

At the formal historic award ceremony last Thursday, Rona’s said: “Wir blyde you’re come ta dis graand foy fir da Highlands an Islands University (UHI). We hoop you hae a lightsome day.”

In April 2001, the Scottish Parliament awarded UHI Higher Education Institute status, but in February of this year the Privy Council awarded UHI full university status.

Rona charmed everyone present receiving rapturous applause from all.  James Fraser, UHI principal and vice-chancellor, said: “This was a historic day for the people of the Highlands and Islands. The founding of the university is a momentous achievement and one of which we can be justifiably proud. Rona did a wonderful job and we were all very proud of her.”

In total, the guests were treated to a welcome by five different young people, each one speaking one of the five spoken dialects/languages from the region: English, Gaelic, Scots, Orcadian and Shetlandic.  Guests to the academic robing ceremony were invited from all over Scotland for the honour: the Scottish government, Scotland’s universities, local authorities, the university’s academic partners and importantly people who had contributed to the creation of the brand new university.

A Tornado jet from RAF Lossiemouth flew over Shetland College the NAFC Marine Centre earlier in the day as part of a fly-past of all the university’s campuses in the region to celebrate its official status as a university.