Honorary graduates celebrated at winter graduations

Honorary graduates celebrated at winter graduations

Scotland's Lord Advocate, a renowned Gaelic language author and broadcaster, and the first woman to lead Jesus College in the University of Cambridge, will be honoured by the University of Aberdeen at its annual winter graduations this week (22-23 November).

Dorothy Bain KC was appointed Lord Advocate in 2021 and as ministerial head of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) is the most senior Law Officer in Scotland.

A University of Aberdeen graduate, she began her legal career as an Advocate in 1994 and was appointed a Queen's Counsel (QC) in 2007. She has extensive experience in both civil and criminal law, instructing in cases at all levels, and in 2009 she became the first woman to be appointed to the post of Principal Advocate Depute in COPFS.

In 2008 she was commissioned to review how sexual crimes are prosecuted – leading directly to the formation of Scotland’s National Sexual Crimes Unit – and has spoken out publicly on a range of justice issues including tackling violence against women and girls. Dorothy will be presented with Doctor of Laws (LLD) on Thursday.

Hugh Dan MacLennan is a sports broadcaster, author and academic who has been BBC Scotland’s voice of shinty for more than 30 years. A University of Aberdeen graduate and fluent Gaelic speaker, his early career began in Gaelic language teaching before he became a successful writer and broadcaster, winning multiple awards for his journalism in Gaelic and English.

He was the first Sportswriter in Residence at the National Library of Scotland and has held numerous board and trustee roles in support of Gaelic language, culture, and sport. In 2001, he chaired the project which produced the first Gaelic dictionary of terms for use in the Scottish Parliament, Faclair na Pàrlamaid.

He currently serves as a Council Member of the Royal Celtic Society, a Professional Fellow at the University of Edinburgh's Academy of Sport and is a Director of Sporting Heritage UK, which is dedicated to the collection, preservation, access, and research of sporting heritage. He is also heavily involved in sporting reminiscence activity to help people living with dementia. Hugh Dan will be presented with Doctor of the University (DUniv) on Wednesday.

Sonita Alleyne is the 41st Master and first woman to lead Jesus College in the University of Cambridge since it was founded in 1496. She is a graduate and Honorary Fellow of Fitzwilliam College in Cambridge who has forged a successful career as a journalist, broadcaster, and media entrepreneur.

Sonita has held a variety of board roles including at The BBC Trust, disabled access charity Artsline, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and is a Fellow of The Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) and the Radio Academy. In 2003 she was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal for services to broadcasting. Sonita will be presented with Doctor of the University (DUniv) on Thursday.

Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, commented: “I always look forward to our graduation ceremonies and the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and our honorary degree recipients, who have achieved so much in their careers.

“For our graduating students and their families, this is a proud moment where they can celebrate, reflect, and take pride in all that they have achieved during their time at Aberdeen.

“I welcome our new graduates to our global family of Aberdeen alumni and hope they leave feeling inspired and ready to make a positive impact on the world, like so many of our graduates have.”

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