2016 marked 50 years since Heriot-Watt was awarded a Royal Charter. The Royal Charter, which gave Heriot-Watt its University status, was granted by Queen Elizabeth II on 4 March 1966. The Royal Charter was awarded in recognition of Heriot-Watt’s long-standing heritage, strengths, and experience of delivering high quality education, and the anniversary will be an opportunity to grow and strengthen relationships with alumni, current students and staff and the wider community.
The University marked the anniversary with a series of events across its campuses. The 50th anniversary celebrations also saw the launch of a new annual appeal to encourage philanthropic giving for the benefit of our students and their learning experience at Heriot-Watt.
It also allowed the University community and stakeholders to consider the University’s historic development, both since the granting of the Charter in 1966 and indeed back to the University’s origins in 1821 as the world's first mechanics institute.
As well as reflecting on the achievements of the past, the anniversary was an opportunity to showcase the University’s aims and potential for the next 50 years and to look forward to the bicentenary of the mechanics institute foundation in 2021.
A word from the Principal
"The granting of the Royal Charter is a remarkable milestone in our University's story and is also a great opportunity to reflect on our future. We will be marking this significant date by acknowledging our rich heritage and talking more about the contribution Heriot-Watt education and research is making to society and our world.”
Principal, Professor A. Richard Williams