Sir Robert Hamilton Lang, student at the University of Glasgow in 1849, is the first known link to Cyprus. He became the manager of the Imperial Ottoman Bank in Larnaca, Cyprus and served as Acting Vice-Consul on three occasions as well as Consul from 1871-72.

Cyprus was officially annexed as a British colony in 1914, after the Ottoman Empire had entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers. The first known Cypriot student was Gabriel Alexander Gabrielides, who graduated BSc from the University in 1934.

Between 1880-1965, 31 students registered Cyprus as their birthplace but the first surge of Cypriot students was witnessed in the 1940s with 10 Cypriot students registering. As with Gabrielides, the majority of Cypriot students entered either the Faculty of Science or Medicine. The graduates pursued careers mainly as Doctors, Chemists, and Engineers. The students came from a diversity of backgrounds, with father occupations ranging from farmers, doctors, government employees, and lawyers.

The scarcity of Arts students, only 2 students having graduated MA, may in part be due to the fact that a Cypriot student looking to study abroad would choose a country with more pronounced shared linguistic and cultural heritage, such as Greece.

Conflict and war was one of the underlining threads in the University of Glasgow’s alumni links with Cyprus. Medical graduates from the University of Glasgow who joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) figure prominently in the island’s connections. Colonel David Wright and Colonel William Melville McCutcheon, former medical students in the 1960s, were sent to Cyprus as commanding officer of the newly opened British Military Hospital in Dhekelia and as Chief Medical Officer in 1964.