Principal’s Medal: Lou Selfridge

Graduation Office
Tuesday 11 June 2024

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE

Tuesday 11 June – afternoon ceremony


Today, the Principal’s Medal is being awarded to a truly outstanding student: Lou Selfridge, who is has just graduated with a Master of Arts with Honours in English.

Lou’s academic achievements are exceptional. They have performed extremely well since their very first semester, receiving very high marks in all their modules. Their remarkably strong academic performance has been recognised by two appearances on the Dean’s List and by the recent award of the Principal’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence, awarded annually to the fifty final-year students whose academic performances are the highest in their respective faculties. In addition to these accolades, Lou has been a Laidlaw Scholar and the recipient of the School of English Prize for Decolonising Literary Studies.

Lou has been an exemplary student throughout their career. According to their tutors, Lou has regularly been working at a level of sophistication of postgraduate standard and much of their work is already publishable. All their teachers concur that Lou’s work is unfailingly original, rigorous, and exciting, and that they have learned from Lou at least as much as they have taught them.

Lou’s commitment to academic excellence and high levels of achievement are matched by their involvement in School, University, town, LGBTQ+, and poetry communities.

Lou is both a successful writer and a phenomenal arts organiser and activist with several poetry and journalism publications to their name, as well as an edited poetry book, Sleekit: Contemporary poems in the Burns stanza. Additionally, Lou has received a Braw Bursary from the Scottish Government Community Fund to work on a series of sonnets which engage with questions of queerness through pop culture.

In 2022, Lou was selected as a Frieze New Writer. Frieze is one of the world leading platforms for modern and contemporary art and culture. Being selected as a Frieze New Writer is an indication of international recognition and excellence and gives an idea of the international impact that Lou’s work is having as an art critic and cultural commentator. 

Lou (right) pictured with Principal Mapstone

As an LGBTQ+ activist and as an organiser of cultural events, Lou has funded Queerios, a queer poetry collective that hosts readings across Fife, and has served as Director of the Poetic Futures Reading Series, which has seen major poetic voices respond to urgent topical issues in a range of events across Scotland. They have also raised funds for inter/pose, a multisite exhibition that will take place in St Andrews in June this year. In all of this, Lou has also found the time to impact on the student poetic life of the University by co-founding the Violetwise reading series, which offers student poets the opportunity to read alongside established writers.

For the next while, Lou will be working as a freelance writer, continuing the work they have been doing whilst at St Andrews for publications like Frieze and The Guardian. They will also continue working on independent editorial and curatorial projects. Lou has had a major impact on the life of the University. They have been an exemplary student: high-achieving, energetic, creative, generous, and collegial.

Lou, in recognition of your many accomplishments both academically and personally during your time at St Andrews, it gives me great pleasure to bestow upon you the Principal’s Medal.

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