Honorary Graduates

The University of Stirling is proud and pleased to confer honorary degrees at our graduation ceremonies in Stirling, Inverness and Singapore. Through the awarding of an Honorary Degree, the University recognises the contribution made by distinguished individuals in the worlds of academia, business, politics, public service and the arts.

Photographs in Scotland were taken by Elaine Livingstone (from 2018); Ede & Ravenscroft (from 2013 to 2017) and by Tempest Photography (prior to 2013). Photographs from our campus in Singapore were taken by Serangoon Broadway.

View our extensive archive here

Our Honorary Graduands 2019

Shelley Kerr MBE

Shelley Kerr

A former Scottish international footballer, Ms Kerr amassed 59 international caps during a trophy-laden career, which spanned more than two decades. She competed as a defender for Kilmarnock, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Hibs and Spartans –and won every domestic honour in Scotland.

Ms Kerr managed Spartans, Scotland under-19s and Arsenal Ladies before taking over the reins at the University of Stirling Men’s First Team in 2014 –becoming the first woman in the UK to manage a senior men’s side. In that role, she enhanced the profile and success of the team and, during her time at Stirling, graduated from the University with an MSc Sport Management. In 2017, Shelley was appointed manager of Scotland Women’s National Team and, earlier this year, led themto their first ever FIFA World Cup. She also received an MBE in 2019.

Alan Shearer CBE

Alan Shearer

An England and Newcastle United legend, Mr Shearer is renowned as one of the world’s best ever strikers. During his career, he also played for Southampton and Blackburn Rovers – and he continues to hold the record of being the English Premier League’s record goalscorer, with 260 goals.

Mr Shearer has set up the Alan Shearer Foundation to raise funds for people with disabilities in the north-east of England and has also supported the NSPCC, Sport Relief and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. He received an OBE in 2001 and a CBE in 2016.

Today, he is best-known for his regular slot on BBC’s ‘Match of the Day’ and, in 2017, he fronted a documentary, ‘Alan Shearer: Dementia, Football and Me’, investigatingthe risks posed by heading in football. Experts from the University of Stirling were at the centre of the documentary discussing their world-leading research found that heading in football causes instant changes to the brain.

James Jopling

James Jopling

ProjectScotland Director James Jopling was recognised for his services to the charity sector. Mr Jopling received an honorary degree at the ceremony in Inverness.

Mr Jopling has worked and volunteered for charities for almost 25 years – tirelessly striving for a fairer society and positive mental wellbeing for all. In his current role as Director of ProjectScotland, he leads the organisation as it empowers young people to play an active and positive role in their communities through volunteering.

Watch our interview with James Jopling.

Hamish Hamilton

Hamish Hamilton

A double-BAFTA award winning director, Hamish Hamilton has produced and directed many of the biggest live shows on the planet – including the Oscars, MTV Video Music Awards, and the Super Bowl Halftime Show – and critically acclaimed content and events for a host of major international recording artists.

In 1998, the University of Stirling graduate founded the production company Done and Dusted, which today has offices around the world and has created events on every continent.

He is recognised for his outstanding contribution to television producing and directing.

"Don't be afraid to be the person that you want to be and define the life that you want to create for yourself." Hear from Hamish addressing the latest University of Stirling class of 2019.

Alison Brittain CBE

Alison Brittain CBE

CEO of Whitbread plc, Alison Brittain CBE is one of the UK’s pre-eminent business leaders and influencers. She is one of just five female chief executives to be listed on the FTSE 100.

Throughout her career, which also included a highly successful time working in the banking industry, Mrs Brittain has championed diversity. In 2017, Veuve Clicquot named her Businesswoman of the Year, praising her as “a role model for women striving to reach the top of large organisations across a range of traditionally male-dominated sectors”.

Mrs Brittain is recognised for her outstanding contribution to business and leadership.

"Finally, I would just say, enjoy the ride. Enjoy the fact that you are going to have a fantastic life!" Watch Honorary Graduate Alison Brittain CBE addressing the latest University of Stirling class of 2019.

Lilian Thuram

Lilian Thuram credit Jean Bibard FEP

Lilian Thuram – who played for Barcelona, Juventus, Parma and Monaco during his illustrious club career – is the most-capped French footballer, with 142 appearances for the national team between 1994 and 2008. He has an impressive list of honours, including winners’ medals from the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000.

In 2008, at the end of his football career, the former defender – a Unicef ambassador – set up the Lilian Thuram Foundation, which educates against racism and promotes equality.

Mr Thuram is recognised for his outstanding contribution to football, as well as his commitment to tackle racism through education.

Watch our interview with Lilian Thuram where says he is “deeply honoured” to receive an honorary degree from the University of Stirling.

Pete Cheema OBE

Pete Cheema OBE

Pete Cheema OBE has vast knowledge and experience of the retailing sector, having owned and managed a number of award-winning stores over the years.

He was appointed to the role of Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation in 2015 – having previously served as President between 2006 and 2008 – and has transformed it into a modern, relevant and highly influential trade body. In addition, Mr Cheema is a board member of the Scottish Retail Consortium and Scotland’s Town Partnership, and also sits on a number of Scottish Government committees.

Mr Cheema is recognised for his outstanding contribution to the convenience store sector in Scotland.

"My advice to the students would be to follow their dreams, doesn't matter what career path they choose. I think it's important to stay true to themselves." Hear more from Pete Cheema.

Professor John Dawson

Professor John Dawson

As the leading scholar in the field of retail geography, Professor John Dawson worked as Professor of Distributive Studies at the University of Stirling – where he founded the Institute of Retail Studies – and later as the first Professor of Marketing at the University of Edinburgh, where he remained for two decades.

Professor Dawson’s primary research interests revolve around location and management issues in retailing and he has published an extensive body of work – including textbooks, peer reviewed journal articles and industry reports.

Professor Dawson – who was the leading light in the establishment of the main European Association for Retail Researchers, and the recipient of the Royal Geographical Society’s prestigious Back Award – is recognised for his outstanding contribution to the establishment and pursuit of retail research in the UK and internationally.

Professor Dawson said: “I am extremely honoured to be awarded this distinction by the University of Stirling. Watch our interview with Professor Dawson.

Sam Heughan

Sam Heughan credit Matt Sayles

Award-winning, Scots actor Sam Heughan has appeared in a host of television and film productions and is best-known for his role as Jamie Fraser in hit series Outlander. He has won a number of best actor awards for his performances in Outlander, and received nominations for both a BAFTA and a Critic’s Choice Television Award.

Mr Heughan is an ardent supporter of the blood cancer charity, Bloodwise, and has established his own charitable foundation, My Peak Challenge.

He is recognised for his outstanding contribution to acting and charitable endeavours.

Mr Heughan has spoken of his delight after receiving an honorary degree from the University of Stirling. Watch our interview with him.