ONE former East Ren head boy has certainly gone to the top of the class — in a very special way
Neil McAlpine (26), who graduated from Glasgow university last year with a first-class honours degree in chemistry, will be studying for his PhD in chemistry at the world-renowned Princeton university in the United States.
Princeton is considered among the top ten most prestigious universities in the world, along with Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard.
The former Williamwood High school pupil is the youngest son of East Renfrewshire councillor, Ian McAlpine.
To meet this achievement, Neil had to beat off competition from around the world and he will be the only student from the UK on this course.
His course at the US university begins in August, and Neil will be moving from East Renfrewshire to New Jersey in mid-summer.
Neil was head boy at Williamwood High from 2003 to 2004 before heading off to Glasgow university, where he graduated last year.
He has since been working in a research laboratory in Liverpool.
To win his place, Neil had to travel to London to sit the entrance exams, which were also held in cities around the world.
Councillor Ian McAlpine couldn’t contain his pride in his son’s achievement. He told The Extra: “It’s fantastic news. We’re very thrilled for him.
“He’ll be over there for five years studying for his PhD and we’re very proud of that and he’s got a scholarship.
“He’s been working down in Liverpool for a research lab, but he’s coming back in June for a month before heading of to the States in July.
Councillor McAlpine did a degree in Chemistry before getting into politics, so he is very aware of what his son has achieved.
Councillor McAlpine added: “He beat off competition from around the world, students from those high-falutin universities like Oxford and Cambridge.”
His success has been publicly recognised by East Renfrewshire council, with both education and equalities convener Elaine Green and director of education John Wilson congratulating him on a job well done at a recent education committee.
Councillor Green said: “Very many congratulations to Neil on what is a truly incredible achievement.
“Princeton is renowned as one of the very best seats of learning, so to be offered a place, against global competition from the world’s brightest minds, is simply fantastic.
“Neil was an outstanding pupil and head boy of Williamwood High and is a real credit to the school, not to mention his own talents and hard work.
“I look forward to hearing of what will undoubtedly be further success to come from Neil.”