Key names in media, sport and business honoured as graduation week begins
Millions have grown up inspired by his work and his words.
And this summer Sir David Attenborough will captivate his latest audience when he accepts an honorary degree – Doctor of Science – at the University's graduation ceremonies.
The world-famous naturalist, broadcaster and author will be one of a number of leading figures due to be honoured this week for work in their respective fields.
Alex McLeish, the former Scotland and Rangers FC manager, and Aberdeen FC captain will be recognised in the same ceremony as Bridget McConnell, the Chief Executive of Culture and Sport Glasgow.
Ferran Adria, the Spaniard considered by many to be the world's greatest chef, will also be given an honorary degree.
Sir David is widely acknowledged as the foremost natural historian in the world today and the most distinguished and respected broadcaster of the last 50 years.
Famed for his series of seminal BBC natural history programmes, starting with the spectacular Life on Earth through to Planet Earth and 2008's Life in Cold Blood, he is a true icon.
As part of his Aberdeen visit, Sir David will appear at a sold-out Director's Cut event – the high profile University series celebrating the art of the filmmaker.
Meanwhile, Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish has followed a trophy-studded career as a player with Aberdeen FC with a highly successful move into management.
Two SPL championships and five cup wins in five years with Rangers FC confirmed him as one of Europe's most promising young managers. McLeish's stewardship of the Scotland side that then recorded a memorable 0-1 victory over France in the Parc des Princes during the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign sealed his place in the national side's folklore.
Bridgett McConnell grew up with a passion for classical music and was a talented player. But witnessing the virtuoso cellist Paul Tortellier performing in Glasgow convinced the then 14-year-old McConnell that her future lay in ensuring as many people as possible had to the opportunity to be exposed to such brilliance.
She now presides over the largest provider of culture and leisure facilities in Scotland and is the purse-holder of multi-million pound budget. The £30M refurbishment of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is one recent achievement on her watch.
Gourmet magazine has described Ferran Adria as 'the Salvador Dali of the kitchen'. El Bulli, his famous Catalonian restaurant, has regularly been voted the best eatery in the world, despite only being open from April to September.
Starting his career washing dishes, Adria worked in various restaurants in Spain before joining the kitchen staff of El Bulli. Six months later he had become head chef and quickly gained an international reputation for his innovative culinary approach and constant experimentation.
Also receiving honorary degrees are: Allan Campbell, Former Chief Executive of Bord na Gaidhlig;
Theodore Malloch, Chairman and CEO of The Roosevelt Group;
William Hamilton Dalrymple, the historian, journalist and broadcaster;
Kenneth Hunter, the acclaimed sculptor;
Irish poet Medbh McGuckian;
Semir Zeki, Professor of Neurobiology, University College London;
John Sievwright, Senior Vice President and COO, International, Merrill Lynch;
Ian Russell, Professor of Public Health, University of Wales;
James Smith, Chairman Shell UK;
Lord John Sewel, Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State;
Matthew MacIver, Chief Executive/Registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland;
Ernest Armstrong, former Chief Medical Officer, Scotland;
and James Milne, Chairman of Friends of ANCHOR and The Balmoral Group Ltd.
Thousands of students will also graduate during the week.
For more information on Graduation Week, pictures from the ceremonies and stories gathered by the Communications Team, please visit www.abdn.ac.uk/grads The page will be updated after each ceremony.
Notes to Editors
Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.
Issued on: Monday 30th of June 2008