University of Stirling

Development and External Affairs



News Archive

October 2008

University installs Dr James Naughtie as Chancellor

University welcomes Olympic swim coach

Stirling golfer wins world title

Honorary doctorate for Sir Alex Markham at Highland degree ceremony


University installs Dr James Naughtie as Chancellor

Date released: Thursday 9 October 2008

The University of Stirling today celebrated a special event which takes place just once every ten years, the Installation of the Chancellor of the University.

The ceremonial installation of Dr James Naughtie - only the fifth Chancellor in the history of the University - was a sumptuous occasion.

This highlight of the University calendar began with a colourful Chancellor’s Procession through the grounds of the University to the MacRobert Arts Centre, where the installation took place. It was led by a mace-bearer, followed by a colourful assembly of staff, members of University Court and Academic Council, honorary graduates, Principals and Chancellors from other UK universities, honorary graduands and finally the Principal and Chancellor designate.

At the ceremony, the University also conferred honorary degrees on The Rt Hon Jack McConnell MSP, Louise Martin CBE and Jasminder Singh OBE, in recognition of their contributions to society.

Dr Naughtie, one of Britain’s best-known broadcasters, succeeds Dame Diana Rigg as Chancellor, with a ten year term of office during which he will preside over graduation ceremonies and other key University events.

Born and educated in Aberdeenshire, he began his journalism career in 1975 on the Press and Journal and wrote for the Scotsman and Guardian before moving into broadcasting. Currently, he presents Today on BBC Radio 4, and is host of the network’s monthly Bookclub. For Today, he has travelled to more than two dozen countries, and has written and presented two acclaimed series on American politics.

He has also introduced programmes on music on BBC radio and television over many years and in 2007 wrote and presented an award-winning radio series, The Making of Music, an account of the European classical tradition. He has anchored BBC radio election results programmes for more than ten years, and been commentator at many national events on radio and television. He was made an honorary Doctor of the University of Stirling in 2001.

The Rt Hon Jack McConnell MSP, former First Minister of Scotland, is made a Doctor of the University for his outstanding contribution to public affairs. A Stirling graduate in 1983, he embarked on a career of teaching but also became active in politics and was elected to Stirling Council. In 1999 he became an MSP in the first Scottish Parliament, was elected First Minister in 2001 and led the Scottish Labour Party to victory in the 2003 elections, holding the position until 2007. He has a long term interest in overseas aid and development.

Louise Martin CBE, who led Scotland’s successful Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Bid, is made a Doctor of the University for her outstanding contribution to sport and public affairs. One of the most respected sports administrators in the UK, earlier this year she was appointed Chair of Sportscotland. A consultant nutritionist, she lives in Dunblane, and is best known for her work with the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, located on the University of Stirling campus. She was also a successful athlete, competing in the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia where she made the swimming finals in 100m and 200m backstroke.

Jasminder Singh OBE, the founder, chairman and chief executive of Radisson Edwardian Hotels is made a Doctor of the University for services to the hotel industry. Born in Tanzania and educated in East Africa, he came to the UK in 1968 and qualified in accountancy before making his first move into the hotel market in 1975. Renowned as an innovative thinker, he has made Radisson Edwardian Hotels into one of the largest privately-owned hotel groups in the UK and operates an award-winning collection of 12 luxury four- and five-star hotels. The company has won awards for its employment practices, with merit-based career paths and a dedication to training.


University welcomes Olympic swim coach

Date released: Wednesday, 15 October 2008

British Swimming has appointed Doug Frost, the experienced multiple Olympic medal winning coach, as Head Coach of the new British Swimming Intensive Training Centre (ITC) at the University of Stirling.

Frost is counted as one of the top coaches in world swimming and in his career he has coached countless elite Australian swimmers including Olympic medallists Ian Thorpe and Kirsten Thomson. Frost coached Thorpe from 1997 to his triple gold medal performance at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

It was announced in August that the National Swimming Academy at Stirling, Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, will be one of five Intensive Training Centres (ITC) to be established by British Swimming, as part of their aim to provide a world-class daily training environment for the nation’s top swimmers in the build-up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Peter Bilsborough, Director of Sports Development at the University, said: “This Intensive Training Centre will help the University and its partners build on all that has been achieved, providing the finest facilities and services to the country's most talented swimmers."

Frost, a former Senior Swimming Coach for the Australian Institute of Sport, is looking forward to helping British Swimming build on its success from Beijing:

"I am really excited about taking up my role at the Stirling ITC and working alongside Scottish Swimming,” he said. “I believe it will be a great experience and I am looking forward to the challenge of setting up the new centre. I think with the introduction of the new ITCs in Great Britain there will be a new added element of high-level competition between the centres that will only help further develop the sport, while introducing high-level training facilities will only help develop swimmers in the UK. After working at elite level in swimming for the past 18 years I believe I can help make Great Britain a dominant force in international swimming in 2012.”

Ally Whike, Director of Performance for Scottish Swimming, said: “Scottish Swimming looks forward to welcoming Doug to the National Swimming Academy. Doug's coaching credentials speak for themselves and we are confident he will work well within the University environment to take forward performance swimming in Stirling.”


Stirling golfer wins world title

Date released: Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Stirling student Gavin Dear (right) has helped Scotland to win golf's 2008 Eisenhower Trophy - the World Amateur Team Championship.

He was part of the successful three-man Scottish team which won the title in Australia. The trio of Gavin Dear (Murrayshall), Callum Macaulay (Tulliallan) and Wallace Booth (Comrie) battled through a severe wind at the Royal Adelaide Golf Club to cruise to a nine stroke victory ahead of the USA, leaving 63 other nations in their wake.

Gavin, the 2008 British Universities champion and a former GB World Universities team member, felt the conditions on the last day played into Scotland’s hands. "It helps because we are all good wind players," he said. "It was good to have it blowing a near gale and we know that par is a good score in such conditions."

Scotland’s win is all the more astonishing because it is only eight years since first entering this event as a separate nation. Previously Scotland’s involvement was as part of Great Britain & Ireland teams who won the title just four times in the 50 year history of the event.

A postgraduate golf scholar, Gavin is the fourth Stirling student to have represented Scotland in this event - the others being Colin Dalgleish, Gordon Sherry, Jamie McLeary and Richie Ramsay. He will compete in European Tour Qualifying Stage 3 in Spain later this month.

Honorary doctorate for Sir Alex Markham at Highland degree ceremony

Date released: Thursday, 30 October 2008

Students from the Highlands and Islands will be rewarded for years of study at the University of Stirling’s Graduation Ceremony, to be held in St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness, on Friday 7 November, at 12 noon.

Professor Christine Hallett, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, will preside as around 130 degrees are awarded to graduates from the University’s Highland and Western Isles campuses, mostly as BN (Bachelor of Nursing) or BSc (Bachelor of Science) degrees.

At the ceremony, the University will confer an honorary degree on Professor Sir Alex Markham. He will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cancer prevention.

Professor Markham has made contributions to medical science in various fields. One of the pioneers of molecular genetics research in the UK, his commercial experience includes the worldwide development of DNA fingerprinting for forensic and medico-legal applications. He spent four years as head of Cancer Research UK, one of the world’s largest charities, where he lobbied Government to ensure that cancer research and the delivery of high quality cancer services remained priorities. Last year, he returned to academia as Professor of Medicine at Leeds University, and was knighted in the New Year Honours list.