Crichton Foundation, Grierson House, Crichton University Campus, Bankend Road, Dumfries DG1 4ZE | 01387 203908  
Crichton Foundation > The Crichton Campus

The Crichton Campus

Located on the outskirts of Dumfries, South West Scotland, the diversity and innovative nature of the Campus makes it unique a centre of learning.

Dumfries and Galloway College, University of Glasgow, University of West of Scotland, Open University, Crichton Carbon Centre and Scotland’s Rural College all have a presence on the Crichton Campus and offer a wide range of learning opportunities. The Crichton Foundation has its office in Browne House.

The attractive sandstone buildings and outstanding grounds are part of a proud heritage and represent a public asset to be enjoyed by the whole community. The universities, colleges and other private and public sector occupants of the site make a vital contribution to the economy of Dumfries town and the region.


The university campus in Dumfries originates from the inheritance left to Elizabeth Crichton by her husband. Born Elizabeth Grierson in 1779 she married Dr James Crichton in 1810. After his death in 1823 the balance of his fortune (well in excess of £4 million in terms of today’s buying power) was earmarked for charitable purposes suggested by his wife. It was not until 1829 that she revealed her intention for the inheritance and the idea of establishing a university in Dumfries was proposed. This was after she had sought the advice of trusted friends, Reverend Henry Duncan and his brother Thomas, to find a proper use for the legacy. The Duncan brothers had been involved in a campaign to relocate St Andrews University to Dumfries as early as 1814. It is not known the extent to which this influenced Elizabeth Crichton’s decision. Despite initial support for the proposal of Crichton University and the stringent efforts of Henry Duncan to make it reality, the idea did not come to fruition. Ultimately the “Asylum for Pauper Lunatics” was opened in 1839. The full account of this sequence of events can be found in Crichton University: A Widow’s Might (2001) Alexandrina Anderson. To purchase a copy at the reduced price of £5 please contact the Crichton Foundation.

The idea of a university in Dumfries resurfaced in the mid-nineteen nineties. A group of enthusiasts, led by Dr Joyce Minton, Dr Neil Paterson and Maxwell Wallace, formed the Crichton University of Southern Scotland Action Group (CUSSAG) in 1995. CUSSAG members campaigned tirelessly for the founding of a university in south west Scotland. Their efforts paid off with the first cohort of students taking up their pioneering places in 1999. At the winding up of CUSSAG in 2005, it was decided that remaining funds should be used to found an annual CUSSAG Award, to be allocated on the grounds of need, merit and local considerations. The balance of the CUSSAG fund was transferred to the Crichton Foundation in November 2011. Grants to students continue to honour the vision of Elizabeth Crichton and CUSSAG, without whose efforts it is unlikely there would be a university campus at the Crichton.

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