“By working closely with businesses in the energy sector, the University has established a reputation for producing ‘industry-ready’ graduates”
Professor Iain Steel Head of the School of Engineering
Robert Gordon University's role in the community can be traced back nearly three and a half centuries to the birth of Aberdeen merchant and benefactor Robert Gordon in 1668.
Robert Gordon's mercantile adventures founded a strong and remarkably modern belief that his investment in the education of his townsfolk would equip them with the skills and knowledge to strengthen their success in Europe and further afield.
Today, more than 260 years after his death, the University which bears his name remains true to his spirit and enterprise.
The birth of the University
The first 100 years and beyond
1668: Birth of Robert Gordon, future founder of Robert Gordon's Hospital
1684: Elected a Burgess of Guild, enabling him to trade as a merchant in the city
1689: Graduates from Marischal College and establishes business as a merchant trader in Danzig in the Baltic.
1729: Founds Robert Gordon's Hospital, to educate the young sons and grandsons of Burgesses of the Guild who were too poor to maintain them at school.
1731: Robert Gordon dies
1750: Robert Gordon's Hospital opens to provide residential education for the sons and grandsons of Burgesses of Guild or Trade Burgesses of Aberdeen
The College matures and grows.
1824: Aberdeen Mechanics' Institution opens - the beginnings of an adult education programme
1881: Robert Gordon's Hospital is transformed into Robert Gordon's College with a secondary day school and separate adult education college
1884: Educational work of the Aberdeen Mechanics' Institute is transferred to the College
1885: Gray's School of Science and Art opens on Schoolhill, funded by John Gray, head of the firm of William McKinnon, Engineers and Iron Founders
1898: Aberdeen Pharmaceutical Society transfers training for apprentice apothecaries, chemists and druggists to the College
The 20th Century
Higher levels of teaching and learning are reached
1903: Scottish Education Department designates the vocational courses work of the College as a ‘Central Institution for Specialised Instruction'
1910: Robert Gordon's Technical College is formed
1955: Local architect and businessman Tom Scott Sutherland gifts the Garthdee Estate
1957: Scott Sutherland School of Architecture opens
1965: College becomes known as Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology (RGIT) to reflect higher levels of teaching and its new role as a centre of excellence in the non-university higher education sector
1967: Gray's School of Art moves to Garthdee campus
1991: Name changes to The Robert Gordon Institute of Technology - one of the largest central institutions in Scotland
1992: Awarded university status and first chancellor, Sir Bob Reid, is installed
The growth continues
Garthdee campus grows and key facilities move to new surroundings
1998: At the end of the 20th Century the Aberdeen Business School moved to the Garthdee campus.
2002: The Faculty of Health & Social Care building was opened in the summer of 2002 and is home to Applied Social Studies, the School of Health Sciences and the School of Nursing & Midwifery.
Garthdee has grown enormously over the years and is where you'll find:
- Gray's School of Art
- The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture & Built Environment
- Aberdeen Business School
- Faculty of Health & Social Care
- RGU Sport
- Administration buildings
Present day: Campus development continues in parallel with growth in RGU's reputation. In 2013 all teaching will be delivered at our Garthdee Campus in state-of-the-art facilities on the banks of the River Dee.
A video introduction to Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen.