Tercentenary Week of Adam Smith's birth to be marked by University of Glasgow

01 June 2023
Adam Smith Business School students Shaun Turner and Wanyaporn (Wendy) Kwangsue enjoy a sneak preview of the Tercentenary Week Adam Smith artefacts exhibition, which will be open to the public during Tercentenary Week at the University Library
The University of Glasgow will be joined by prestigious figures including Gita Gopinath, First Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Nobel Prize winner Professor Angus Deaton, in marking the 300th birthday of its famous student, Adam Smith.

Tercentenary Week will take place in Glasgow from 5-10 June, to coincide with the date that was believed to be Adam Smith’s birthday. It is part of the University’s ongoing events and activities to commemorate Smith’s tercentenary year. The lectures by Gita Gopinath and Professor Sir Angus Deaton are supported by The Hunter Foundation.

Other activities, including a lecture by Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois, Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, are supported by the John Templeton Foundation for the tercentenary.

The IMF’s Gita Gopinath will be awarded an Honorary Degree by the University during Tercentenary Week. She said: “It’s an honour to deliver the Adam Smith Tercentenary Lecture. Adam Smith’s thinking both in ‘The Wealth of Nations’ and ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ continues to offer a useful lens through which to view today’s economic and ethical questions. I look forward to travelling to Glasgow.”

Business school student Wendy Kwangsue holds the first edition copy of Adam Smith: The Theory of Moral Sentiments, London 1759

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Professor Sir Angus Deaton said:“ This celebration and the recent revival of interest in Adam Smith in his homeland is hugely welcome. When I grew up in Edinburgh in the 1950s and 1960s, his name was never mentioned. Yet he is one Scotland’s greatest thinkers. In economics, we need to better recognise the importance of his philosophy, his humanity, and his empiricism, and not only his celebration of markets. I am delighted to come to Glasgow to participate.”

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The week will conclude with a day of activities, discussion, music and art at the University of Glasgow. International scholars and practitioners will bring Smith into conversation with contemporary issues.

Confirmed panellists include world leading economists such as Professor Sir John Kay (Oxford University); Professor Anne Case, Princeton University; and Professor Benjamin Friedman, Harvard University.

Participants will also enjoy a range of commemorative events, including:

  • Displays of Adam Smith artefacts from the University of Glasgow collections
  • The world’s first performance of music composed for the tercentenary
  • Academic workshops discussing Smith’s legacy and insights
  • ‘Enlightened’ - an event designed by students to give others the chance to learn more about Adam Smith

Report and images courtesy University of Glasgow