Chancellor to present final degrees as he steps down from the University of Aberdeen

As Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, Lord Wilson of Tillyorn has conferred more than 16,000 degrees on graduating students.

After 15 years in post he will ‘cap’ his final graduates on Thursday (November 29) and Friday (November 30) following his announcement that he is to step down from his role from the end of December.

Lord Wilson was elected Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen in 1997 having previously served as Chancellor’s Assessor and Senior Lay Member of Court between 1993 to1997. Before that he was the penultimate Commander-in-Chief and 27th Governor of Hong Kong.

In addition to presenting his final degrees to students, Lord Wilson will preside over the last honorary degrees he will award at the University.

For the November ceremonies recipients include Sir Roland Jackson, Chief Executive of the British Science Association; Sir John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office for Science; The Honourable Lord Bracadale, Judge, Senator of the College of Justice; Reverend Alan Falconer, former Minister of the Cathedral Church of St Machar, Aberdeen; and María de los Angéles González, Minister of Innovation and Culture, Province of Santa Fe, Argentina..

Lord Wilson will also award a Master of the University honorary degree to Mrs Jean Hamilton, a Founding Member of the University of Aberdeen Hong Kong Association and a long-term supporter of the University and its Hong Kong interests, while Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, will confer an honorary doctorate on Peter Stephen, former Lord Provost of the City of Aberdeen.

Lord Wilson said: “Degree ceremonies have been one of the highlights of my time at Aberdeen and it is a great delight to play a part in recognising the achievements of our students and the distinction of our honorary graduates.

“I feel privileged to have held office as Chancellor during a time of important transformation at the University of Aberdeen. We have seen student numbers increase significantly, we have seen too a huge investment made in the campus and in enhancing the experience that our students have when they come to Aberdeen, and which will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

“It is also an honour to have represented the University on the international stage and at recent landmark occasions such as the official opening of the Sir Duncan Rice Library by her Majesty the Queen.”

Professor Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, said:  “Lord Wilson is not only a greatly respected figure within University community, he has also been a wonderful ambassador for the University both here in the UK and abroad.

“During his period of office he has further strengthened the international outlook of the University and during his tenure Aberdeen has been recognised as one of the top 200 universities in the world.

“Lord Wilson has brought great dignity, wit and wisdom to his role as Chancellor of the University and he will be greatly missed.”

To commemorate Lord Wilson’s time as Chancellor of the University, a new scholarship fund will be established in his honour to support students from Hong Kong to study at Aberdeen.

The Wilson Scholarships will be open to Hong Kong nationals wishing to study at the University of Aberdeen who demonstrate outstanding academic ability and exceptional talent. 

A successor to Lord Wilson is expected to be appointed in the new year.