Biography of Zachary Boyd
The preacher Zachary Boyd (1585-1653) was a University administrator and a generous benefactor. He bequeathed about 28,000 marks to help meet the cost of new University buildings and a smaller sum to meet the maintenance expenses of three students of Divinity each year. The Boyd bursaries were later merged into one. Boyd also subscribed 500 marks in 1630 "for the help of building the Librarie" and left his collection of books to the University.
Born in Ayrshire, Boyd studied at the University before going to St Andrews, where he graduated MA. He continued his studies at Saumur in France (where he studied under his kinsman Robert Boyd, subsequently Principal of the University) and became Regent Professor there in 1611, returning to Scotland ten years later. He became Minister of Barony Parish in 1623 and took an active role in the University, serving as Dean of Faculties, Rector and Vice-Chancellor at various times during the 1630s and 1640s.
Boyd had a high reputation as a preacher and left a large collection of sermons and devotional works to the University. He was a prolific poet, but one who has not received critical acclaim.
A marble bust of Boyd, by the sculptor Robert Erskin, was displayed from 1658 in a niche above the archway in the Inner Court of the Old College buildings in High Street. The bust was restored by John Mossman and removed to the Hunterian Museum after the University was relocated in Gilmorehill. The University also possesses a portrait of Boyd, attributed to the painter George Jamieson.