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James Wilson was one of six original justices appointed by George Washington to the Supreme Court of the United States and founder of the University of Pennsylvania Law School.Other prominent American figures associated with St Andrews include Scottish American industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who was elected Rector in 1901 and whose name is given to the prestigious Carnegie Scholarship, and Edward Harkness, an American philanthropist who in 1930 provided for the construction of St Salvator's Hall.At this time, the majority of the teaching was of a religious nature and was conducted by clerics associated with the cathedral.During the 17th and 18th centuries, the university had mixed fortunes and was often beset by civil and religious disturbances.
A charter of privilege was bestowed upon the society of masters and scholars by the Bishop of St Andrews, Henry Wardlaw, on 28 February 1411.
In 1876, the University Senate decided to allow women to receive an education at St Andrews at a level roughly equal to the Master of Arts degree that men were able to take at the time. She entered the university in 1892, making St Andrews the first university in Scotland to admit female undergraduates on the same level as men.
Up until the start of the 20th century, St Andrews offered a traditional education based on classical languages, divinity and philosophical studies, and was slow to embrace more practical fields such as science and medicine that were becoming more popular at other universities.
As a result of this, St Andrews lost its capacity to provide degrees in many areas such as Law, Accountancy, Dentistry and Engineering, while it also lost the right to confer the undergraduate medical degree MBCh B.
However, the university has prospered in other ways.
St Leonard's College was founded in 1511 by Archbishop Alexander Stewart, who intended it to have a far more monastic character than either of the other colleges.