Olympians among inspirational figures honoured at summer graduations

Olympians among inspirational figures honoured at summer graduations

Britain's most successful female Olympian and a former FA and PFA Women's Player of the Year are among those who will be honoured at next week's summer graduations at the University of Aberdeen.

Dame Katherine Grainger DBE and Kim Little will pick up honorary degrees on Tuesday (June 20).

Glasgow-born rower Dame Katherine is the only woman to have won medals at five consecutive Olympic Games, rounding off her career at the Rio Games with a silver medal to bring her Olympic haul to one gold and four silver medals.  She will receive a Doctor Honoris Causa (DHC) from the University.

Kim Little, who was born in Aberdeen and attended Mintlaw Academy, is a professional footballer with 121 Scotland caps and 48 goals to her name.   A competitor in the London 2012 Olympics, she has played for clubs worldwide and has won numerous accolades, including the FA and PFA Women’s Player of the Year.  She will receive a Master of the University (MUniv) degree.

They are among 12 distinguished figures picking up honorary degrees over five days of graduation ceremonies taking place at the University’s Old Aberdeen campus next week.

Donald Lamont, former Governor of the Falkland Islands, will receive a Doctor of Laws (LLD) on Monday.  Mr Lamont was born in Aberdeen and educated at Aberdeen Grammar School, before graduating from the University and entering the diplomatic service where he served as ambassador to Uruguay and Venezuela, among other roles.

Sir Moir Lockhead, former Chief Executive of Aberdeen-based FirstGroup, will receive a Doctor of Laws on Wednesday.  Under his leadership FirstGroup grew to become the UK’s largest bus and rail operator and one of the largest surface transport operators in North America.  Sir Moir is a long-time supporter of the University, having served as Senior Governor of the University Court until earlier this year.  He is currently Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland.

On Thursday, Brian Pack OBE will receive a Doctor Honoris Causa.  Formerly Chief Executive of north-east agricultural co-operative ANM Group, Mr Pack has advised the Scottish Government on support for agriculture in Scotland, with the vast majority of his recommendations being formally adopted.

Thursday will also see Isobel Yule receive a Master of the University degree.  Isobel graduated from the University of Aberdeen despite suffering severe deterioration in her eyesight as a student.  Moving into teaching, she was active in developing methods to help blind and partially sighted students.  An internationally renowned speaker, she is formerly Vice-Chair of the Braille Authority and Chair of the European Blind Commission for Activities of Multi-Disabled, Visually Impaired People.

On Friday, Former Lord Provost of Aberdeen George Adam will be awarded a Doctor of Laws.  A long-standing member of the city council, he has been a tireless ambassador for the city, welcoming dignitaries from home and abroad and representing the city at numerous events and conferences.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “Our honorary graduates have achieved so much in their fields while making a significant contribution to society, and I am delighted to welcome these talented and successful individuals to the University family. 

“They provide an inspirational example to our graduates as they move onto a new chapter in their careers.”