A pathway to the future

The iconic McEwan Hall reopened this summer after an extensive £33 million project that saw the building restored to its original splendour and the installation of a special pathway that recognises supporters of the redevelopment.

McEwan Hall frescos
Photo: Douglas Roberston. Detail from the Frescos adorning the ceiling in McEwan Hall.

The Hall’s stunning artwork and frescos, the famous organ, and damaged stonework, have all been restored and repaired, while accessibility has been improved. A new entrance pavilion has also been added, while Bristo Square has been newly landscaped.

Since its opening in1897, thousands of students have graduated here. For many it is an abiding memory of their time at the University.

Thanks to the redevelopment, supported generously by so many alumni and friends, thousands of future students will also be able to savour the unique experience of graduating in the inspiring main hall.

The first graduations to take place in McEwan Hall since it reopened were held in July. Among the graduates was the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, who received an honorary degree in recognition of his achievements as a public servant with strong commitments to equality and diversity.

Since its opening in 1897, thousands of students have graduated here. For many it is an abiding memory of their time at the University.

The Pathway to Enlightenment

Lizzie Bevington and Despina Petridou

To thank those alumni and friends who supported the redevelopment with donations, the University has created the Pathway to Enlightenment in the Victorian concourse in the basement of the building. The space has been significantly improved to create a new, modern area for students to prepare before graduation and for public events.

The names of donors and those who have inspired donations have been added to permanent tiles around the Pathway as a statement of gratitude but also as a way to inspire the alumni of tomorrow.

The concept for the Pathway to Enlightenment was developed by two students from the Edinburgh College of Art, Lizzie Bevington and Despina Petridou (left), who entered and won the competition to design the Pathway. They took a wide range of images from the University’s collections, from Botany to Shakespeare, reflecting the diversity of subjects studied here at the University.

Their joint concept was based on the movement of ideas and people through the University and the whole being greater than the sum of the many.