Among the University’s earliest connections with Chile is graduate Peter Mackay, the first headmaster, and one of the founding members of what is today among Valparaíso’s top schools for boys, The Mackay School.
Graduating MA from the University in 1852, Mackay worked as a maths tutor in Glasgow before immigrating to Chile where he worked for the first school in Chile, the Valparaíso Artizan College Society, as their first headmaster. Based on the British educational structure, the school was initially set up to teach the children of the growing expatriate community of English-speakers, who had immigrated to Valparaíso to work in the rapid development of one of Chile’s major seaports. Used a stopover for ships passing the Horn and made prominent during California’s gold rush, Valparaíso became the jewel of the Pacific in the mid-nineteenth century.
Mackay, together with fellow Scot, George Sutherland, separated from the Society on religious grounds and founded the Mackay and Sutherland School in 1877 . This School was eventually re-named the Mackay School based in Reñaca, Viña del Mar, in honour of Peter Mackay upon his death in 1905.