In a long-serving institution, values evolve as times change but retain a solid historic core. The ethical and intellectual base of St Andrew’s College came from the Scottish Enlightenment and the Presbyterian Church and was administered for 129 years by ten Principals who were Presbyterian ministers and by twelve Presbyterian Councillors, four of whom were ministers.
The weight of Reformed churchmanship was well expressed in the Latin motto Christo, Ecclesiae, Litteris. Like all good mottoes, this is full of meanings beyond the bald translation ‘for Christ, for the church, for scholarship’. Christ, for example, is both the Jesus of History and the Christ of Faith. When the College in 2014 enunciated its cardinal values, it chose to relate clusters of these values to the three elements of the 140-year-old motto.
College is aware that since 1998 its Principal no longer must be a minister and that, although Principal and Councillors must still be adherents of an appropriate Reformed Christian church, the students, who are the reason that College exists, reflect a much more eclectic society. From the genesis of St Andrew’s, students of non-Christian faiths or of no faith have been welcomed; the test which applies to the governing body has never applied to the students.
Accordingly, the three elements, Christo, Ecclesiae, Litteris, can be used to provide the structure of a set of College values only by subsuming, amplifying and transcending the Christological and ecclesiological debates among Christian scholars over two millennia. The use of the motto as the framework for the values recognises the ethical strength of the College’s Presbyterian founders, but the values themselves recognise that the students of 2014 are far more diverse, not least in their religious outlook, than the first residents in 1876.