From the beginning ……………………….
On 6 November 1911 in a meeting in the McEntire Hall of St Andrew’s College, then located at No. 21 St Stephen’s Green, a resolution was passed that “an Old Boys’ Union be formed and that its name be the ‘St Andrew’s College Union’”. The first President of the Union was George E. Nesbitt, who along with his brother William, started school on the opening day of St Andrew’s College in 1894.
Between 1914 and 1918, 688 past pupils of St Andrew’s fought in the First World War. 87 of them died in action and many more died prematurely because of the effect of the war on their health. A memorial window and panels inscribed with the names of those who fought and died were unveiled in the McEntire Hall on 30 November 1921 (St Andrew’s Day) dedicated to their memory. To this day senior students assemble every year in November to remember these men and two wreaths are laid at the memorial alongside the names of ‘Our Immortal Dead’, one from the past pupils and the other from the current pupils.
Fourteen years elapsed before the Old Boys’ Union was reconstituted and refounded in 1929 and the solid foundations were laid on which the alumni association (SACA) of today still stands. With renewed vigour the Unions’ officers concentrated their efforts to deepen the interest of the Old Boys in the College. The OBU dinner became an annual event. Smoking concerts, whist drives and dances provided occasions for the reunion of school mates.
In 1938 at the suggestion of the President of the OBU a College Anthem was written by Niall D. Nelson who left St Andrew’s in 1937. The Anthem was sung for the first time at the OBU Dinner in 1943 and, after decades of not being heard, was sung at the official opening of the College’s latest development in September 2010.
In 1940 an Insignia for the Presidents of the Union was commissioned. It took the form of a medallion in gold and enamel bearing the crest and motto of the College with the word “President” at the top. Initially the medallion was attached to a ribbon of St Andrew’s blue, bearing gilt bars on which the names of the respective Presidents and their year of office are inscribed. This chain of office is still worn by the current President on all official occasions.
By 1945 a second World War had come to an end. Records compiled by the OBU show that 240 Old Boys served in H.M. and Allied Forces and 36 Old Boys made the supreme sacrifice. A tablet bearing the names of the fallen was unveiled by the Head Boy in Clyde Road in October 1954.
1949 gave rise to the new official OBU Blazer. The blazer was merely a conversion of the ordinary uniform blazer. Gold braid around the crest and gold embroidered letters, reading OBU, were added to the pocket at a cost of 5/6. There were also two small brass buttons for each sleeve. It was reckoned that, as nearly every boy possessed a school blazer, the fact of being able to convert it so reasonably would prove a very strong incentive to join the Union. In addition, Past Presidents’ Insignias of the Old Boys’ Union were now obtainable to be worn at functions by those who had previously served as President of the Union. Such insignia are still presented to outgoing Presidents at the AGM each November.
In 1954 the OBU celebrated 25 years since its re-launch in 1929 with a Silver Jubilee Dance in the Metropole Ballroom on Saturday 6th February with music by Phil Murtagh and his Orchestra.
On 28 November 1971 the first sod for the new building was turned by William Nesbitt, who, at the age of nine, had been one of the first 64 pupils attending St Andrew’s and whose brother, George, was the first President of the Union. At a meeting of the Board in 1971 it was decided to accept girls in St Andrew’s from 1973 which gave rise to the necessity of the change of name from Old Boys’ Union to Past Pupils’ Union. The first female to be elected President of the PPU was Lynn Wiley (née Ahern) in 1992.
In 1979, with Alan Finlay as President, the PPU celebrated 50 years since its re-launch at a dinner in the Royal St George Yacht Club.
In 2011 we celebrated one hundred years since the Union was first established in 1911.
At a Special General Meeting in March 2012 a motion was passed to change the name of the Past Pupils’ Union to St Andrew’s College Alumni (SACA).