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Scottish Heritage Symposium 2012 brings scholarship, entertainment

Laurinburg, N.C. – The 2012 Charles Bascombe Shaw Memorial Scottish Heritage Symposium presented by the St. Andrews University Scottish Heritage Center will take place March 16-18.

“Our symposium has provided a forum for those interested in Scottish history, culture and genealogy to learn from top scholars in their respective fields,” said Bill Caudill, director of the Scottish Heritage Center. “Since beginning in 1989, our symposium has gained national recognition as a leader in the exploration of Scottish culture.”

Festivities will begin with the Scottish Heritage Center open for visitors to explore during the late morning on Friday, March 16.

The educational sessions begin with a presentation on life in 18th century Argyll by highly regarded historian and folklorist Brigadier John MacFarlane.

A graduate of Glasgow University, the Gaelic speaking MacFarlane spent more than 30 years in the British Army. He retired as Ministry of Defense Director of Education and Training Services for the Army and is now enjoying his third career in Gaelic broadcasting for both TV and radio. He is active in the Taynuilt community of Scotland, singing bass in the local Gaelic Choir as well as serving as an active member of the St. Johns Episcopal Cathedral in Oban.

MacFarlane will present again Saturday morning on “Gaelic place Names, Folktales and Folk Saying of Upper Lorn.”

Next up is Dr. John Hutton presenting “Scottish Kinship, Political and Mercantile Networks of the Atlantic World, ca. 1720-1776.”

Hutton recently completed a Ph.D. in Scottish and Diasporic Studies through the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies at the University of Aberdeen. His dissertation, The Campbells of Argyll in 18th Century Scotland and America, is the most recent scholarship with relevance to North Carolina’s Argyll Colony.

He will provide a second lecture Saturday afternoon with “The Minor Elites of the Southwest Highlands including the Campbells, McAllisters and the MacNeills.”

June Skinner Sawyers will present on the music and poetry of the Highland Clearances during her session on Saturday morning.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Sawyers has spent many years in the Chicago area. She has written extensively about music, popular culture and particularly Celtic culture and music. Her work, Celtic Music – A Complete Guide, has served as the text for the Celtic music and culture course offered at St. Andrews.

Completing the speaking platform in 2012 is Dr. Suzanne Cameron Linder Hurly, who will share information on the emigrant experience specific to the Carolinas.

A graduate of Converse College, she holds a M.A. degree in history from Wake Forest University and a Pd.D. from the University of South Carolina. The Bennettsville, S.C., native has published 10 books, the most recent being From the Highlands to High Finance – The Carolina McColls.

In addition to the educational activities of the weekend, three additional events have joined the symposium tradition.

Friday evening, the Scottish Heritage Awards Banquet will feature the presentation of the Scottish Heritage Center Award and the Flora Macdonald Award.

“We are honored to present the Scottish Heritage Center Award to Beacham McDougald for his years as the driving force behind the ongoing student exchange program between Scotland High School and Oban High School in Argyll, Scotland,” said Caudill. “We will also have the privilege of presenting the Flora Macdonald award to Pat Johnston for her work over the last 30 years promoting Scottish dance in the Carolinas.”

McDougald’s work with the Laurinburg-Oban Student Exchange Program has allowed more than 400 students to experience an extended visit in either Oban or Laurinburg, and has fostered the rebuilding of links between these two regions.

“It is especially fitting to honor his work in this 20th Anniversary of the Laurinburg-Oban Exchange program which is perhaps the most significant of its kind in the nation,” said Caudill. “It has fostered strong links between the youth of Scotland County and their peers in Argyll.”

Johnston has served as a mentor and teacher for literally hundreds of young Scottish dances and also served as an organizer and official at various Highland Games dances competitions throughout the Southeast.

“She has been quite active in her clan organization alongside her late husband Steve,” said Caudill. “She has also encouraged interest in Scottish Country Dance here in the eastern part of North Carolina.”

The annual musical performance set for Saturday night is a “Young Scottish Performers of the Carolinas” Concert. This recital performance will feature young performers from the Carolinas who are pursing Highland music and dance with featured performances in piping, fiddling and Highland Dance.

The final event of the weekend is the annual Kirkin’ of the Tartans Worship Service at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning.

For a full schedule of events and registration information, please go to http://www.sapc.edu/shc/scottishheritagesymposium.php or call the Scottish Heritage Center at 910-277-5236. Email reservations are also taken at rsvp@sapc.edu. Please remember to include Scottish Heritage in the subject line and include names of all participants.

About St. Andrews University

St. Andrews is a student and teaching-focused University which offers a broad range of undergraduate majors in a curriculum that is global in scope and practical in its application. The quality of the St. Andrews educational experience has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and GI Jobs among others. In addition to its academic programs, the University has an acclaimed university press, men’s and women’s athletic teams, a nationally competitive equestrian program, and an award-winning pipe band. St. Andrews is a branch of Webber International University, Florida. Further information may be obtained by visiting the University’s website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198, or sending an e-mail to info@sapc.edu.


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