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Aberdeen accolades in New Year’s Honours

Congratulations go to two well known and long standing members of University staff who were recognised in the New Year’s Honours.

 Professor Neva Haites, Head of the College of Life Sciences and Medicine, was given an OBE for services to medicine.

Sheena Grant, who joined the University as a cleaner two decades ago and who is also Unison branch chairperson, was made an MBE for her services to education.

Mrs Grant said she was absolutely flabbergasted and initially thought it was a wind-up until she read her citation letter from Buckingham Palace and realised it contained too much detail to be a joke.

Professor Haites, who was holidaying in Australia when the news emerged, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be recognised in this way. I believe this award acknowledges the work of a hard working team of people and I’m just one person in that team, who is very fortunate to be honoured like this.”

Professor Stephen Logan, University Senior Vice Principal, said of Professor Haites’ award: “I have personally known Neva for many years and I, and her many colleagues, are delighted that she has been recognised for what has been a highly distinguished career here at the University of Aberdeen.

"Neva is a popular figure who first joined the University as a mature student thirty years ago. She rose through the ranks and then last year became Head of our College of Life Sciences.

"As well as her many management duties, Neva is still a clinical geneticist who will be well known to many patients across the North-east.

"She is also a member of a number of key national organisations and influential bodies which include the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and currently she is also medical genetics advisor to the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland.

"Neva is a highly regarded academic in Aberdeen and beyond and this accolade is very highly deserved."

Professor Logan said of Mrs Grant: “We are absolutely thrilled for Sheena. She has been a long standing servant of the University since she joined us as a cleaner 22 years ago.

"She takes great pride in her work, ensuring that the Mitchell Hall within Marischal College is always kept in meticulous order in preparation for graduation ceremonies, University concerts and other University events.

"But as well as her support duties, Sheena has worked tirelessly for trade union members since she became a union official a year after she joined the University. She became Unison branch chairperson 14 or 15 years ago and during that time we have worked together on a wide range of issues.

"Sheena has played a significant role in fostering effective employee relations at the University of Aberdeen and within higher education at a Scottish and UK national level through her involvement in strategic Trades Union national committees.

"Sheena is a colourful character who is well known and loved around the campus. She certainly deserves this recognition."

One of the University’s graduates who went onto to become a leading businessman was also made a CBE.

Alistair Arkley, 58, studied Engineering and was a former President of the University’s Student Union. He is now Chairman of pub company New Century Inns.

Mr Arkley was born in Aberdeen, but now lives in Co Durham, and chairs the Northern Business Forum, which represents business interests in the region.

ENDS


Notes to Editors:

Please be advised that the picture of Sheena Grant (above) is courtesy of the Press and Journal.

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Wednesday 4th of January 2006

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Contact: Jennifer Phillips

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