Seamus McDaid has taken the helm at Paisley University to steer a path through widening access
Seamus McDaid, who joined Paisley University as vice-principal in 1997, was this week appointed principal.
Professor McDaid, aged 53, is a qualified accountant. He began his academic career in 1976 as a lecturer at what is now Glasgow Caledonian University. He became dean of the business faculty, a post he held until he joined Paisley.
He is bullish about Paisley's future despite uncertainty over the knock-on effect of top-up fees south of the border. "I would endorse the Scottish Executive's approach in not having fees or top-up fees, particularly in this university, which has a clear commitment to widening access."
He convened the West of Scotland Wider Access Forum, which launched one of the largest widening access projects in the country. The Goals initiative, involving all the region's higher education institutions, has forged links with more than 300 schools. "Widening access is very, very close to my heart," he said.
Professor McDaid was instrumental in establishing the Crichton Campus in Dumfries. It is a partnership between Paisley and Glasgow University, Bell College and Dumfries and Galloway College and serves the geographically remote southwest.
He has helped expand opportunities at Paisley's Ayr campus, created a decade ago through a merger with Craigie College of Education. Student numbers have risen since the merger from 500 to 2,500.
John Macklin, Professor McDaid's predecessor, retired on health grounds earlier this year.