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New Honorary Chair in Contemporary Highland Studies appointed to the University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen has appointed Dr Norman Gillies, Director of Sabhal Mr Ostaig a centre of excellence for the development of the Gaelic language, culture and heritage to an Honorary Chair in Contemporary Highland Studies.

The appointment recognises Aberdeen's close links with Sabhal Mr Ostaig and emphasises the University's commitment to Scottish Gaelic. In June the University senate passed an articulation agreement between the University of Aberdeen and Sabhal Mr Ostaig, whereby credits gained at the college are now recognised for accelerated progression at Aberdeen University.

Professor Iain Torrance, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Divinity, warmly welcomed the appointment and said: "The success of Sabhal Mr Ostaig in supporting the Gaelic language and culture has been inspirational. One of the reasons for that success has been the visionary leadership of Norman Gillies. The appointment to an Honorary Chair in Contemporary Highland Studies is both a way of recognising his remarkable achievement, vision and energy, and also a way on honouring the institution along with him and signalling the University's commitment to working together with the College."

Dr Gillies said this week: "I am both surprised and delighted. This appointment reflects very well on the institution of Sabhal Mr Ostaig itself in that it signals an intent by an established traditional university to collaborate with a relatively young and specialist institution in areas of common interest. Aberdeen University is an institution for which I have a tremendous regard so this honour is very meaningful to me personally and it also serves as an indicator on the worth that people place on the institution which I serve. Sabhal Mr Ostaig has built an excellent reputation as an institute of further and higher education in a very short time frame and this recognition also augurs well for the deepening of the already strong relationship that exists between the UHI Millennium Institute and the University of Aberdeen."

Notes to Editors

Norman Gillies has been Director of Sabhal Mr Ostaig the Gaelic-medium college in Skye since 1988. Norman Gillies was born in Skye and educated at Portree High School and at the Open and Strathclyde Universities. He has an honourary LLD from the University of Aberdeen. Sabhal Mr Ostaig has the aim of strengthening and supporting both the economy of Skye and the language and culture of the Gaidhealtachd. The College took in its first full-time students in 1983, the same year in which Norman was appointed as Secretary. Since then Norman Gillies, from his base at Sabhal Mr Ostaig, has been a key figure in the revival of Gaelic, welcoming world-wide interest as well as supporting those brought up speaking the Gaelic language.

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August 16, 2002