Honorary Graduates

The University of Stirling is proud and pleased to confer honorary degrees at our graduation ceremonies.

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.

25 November 2022

Dr Angela Mudge

Dr Angela Mudge wears her graduation gown and holds her graduation scroll

Dr Angela Mudge is recognised for her outstanding contribution to sport.

Dr Angela Mudge is a Scottish, British and World Champion in hill and mountain running. Despite coming late to mountain racing, and a physical disability in childhood, she rapidly excelled, winning multiple titles in domestic and international competition, as well as breaking countless course records.

She has won the Scottish Hill Running Championships four times (1997, 1998, 2006 and 2013), the British Fell Running Championship five times (1997–2000, 2008), and holds the women’s record on an extensive list of Scottish courses.

On the international stage, amongst others, Angela won the Women’s World Mountain Running Trophy in 2000, the World Masters Mountain Running Championship in 2005 and 2010, and the Buff Skyrunner World Series in 2006 and 2007. She won the World Mountain Running Trophy’s Women’s Team Championship in 2003, whilst also finishing second in the individual championships. In 2007, she finished first in the Everest Marathon.

Angela continues to be an active hill runner whilst working as a sports and remedial massage therapist. She is also the event lead for hill and mountain running at Scottish Athletics and is Off Track Event Administrator for British Athletics.

Dr Malcolm Fairweather

Dr Malcolm Fairweather is pictured outside wearing his graduation robes and holding a scroll

Dr Malcolm Fairweather is one of Scotland’s leading sports scientists and, for the last 21 years, has worked for sportscotland, the national agency for sport, where he is currently Head of Performance Solutions.

A former PE and science teacher, he completed a PhD scholarship in Motor Behaviour at Louisiana State University, where he coached many world class athletes in track and field.

In 1996, Malcolm took up one of the UK’s first appointments in skill acquisition at Moray House, University of Edinburgh and, since then, has pioneered the professional recognition and status of applied skill acquisition delivery in the UK. He was the British Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences first High-Performance Accredited Skill Acquisition practitioner, assessor and chartered scientist.

His sports coaching career expanded to rugby, helping Scottish international and British Lions players improve their performance by developing their speed, perception, and decision-making skills.

In 2001, Malcolm joined the Scottish Institute of Sport – now sportscotland – as their first employed sports scientist and, over the last two decades, has played a vital role in increasing the number of scientists, operating across various disciplines, at sportscotland.

24 November 2022

Dr Mathis Wackernagel

Dr Mathis Wackernagal

Dr Mathis Wackernagel is recognised for his outstanding contribution to advancing the global conservation around human carrying capacity, ecological economics and environmental policy.

Dr Mathis Wackernagel is co-founder and President of Global Footprint Network, an international non-profit think tank that focuses on bringing about a sustainable human economy in which all can thrive within the means of our planet.

While embarking upon a PhD in community and regional planning at the University of British Columbia in the early 1990s, he co-created the Ecological Footprint, the only metric that measures how much nature we have and how much nature we use. The Footprint helps countries improve their resource security and their residents’ wellbeing, local leaders can optimise public project investments, and individuals can track their impact on the planet.

In 2003, Mathis co-founded the Global Footprint Network with the goal to make ecological limits central to decision-making across the world. The Network has since engaged with more than 50 nations, 30 cities, and 70 global partners to deliver scientific insights for policy and investment decisions. The think tank’s Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources each year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

30 June 2022

Lydia Okroj

Lydia Okroj

Lydia Okroj has worked in the Women’s Aid movement in Scotland for more than 40 years. She has dedicated her life to championing and defending the rights of women who experience domestic abuse and has been pivotal in improving the quality and accessibility of refuge accommodation across the UK.

In a leadership role, she developed a new model to better process and meet the needs of women and children in registration and regulation with the Care Commission / Inspectorate. She now manages Scotland’s Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline and single-handedly transformed the helpline to respond to domestic abuse during the pandemic.

She received an honorary doctorate for her outstanding contribution to women’s and children’s rights.

David Smith MBE

David Smith

A decorated international athlete, David Smith MBE has faced serious health issues during his journey to the top of sport. He was born with two club feet but, undaunted by the physical challenges, went on to compete in shinty, karate, athletics and even bobsleigh, before taking up rowing – where he has realised his greatest successes, winning the World Championships twice (2009, 2011) and Paralympics once (2012). However, between his two world titles, he was diagnosed with a tumour in his back and underwent life-threatening surgery – which led to a blood clot and resulted in him being left temporarily completely paralysed.

Following his remarkable comeback in 2011, he received an MBE for services to rowing and, soon after, decided to take up cycling – but the tumour returned and ended his dream of competing at the Rio Paralympics in 2016. Despite being told he would not cycle again, he again defied doctors and recovered. Soon after, he conquered Mont Ventoux, the hardest climb in the Tour de France – not once but three times.

He was recognised for his outstanding achievements in Paralympic sport.

29 June 2022

Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson

Mr Robinson, the Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), was pivotal in establishing the diverse and impactful coalition Stop Climate Chaos Scotland. He was recognised for his outstanding commitment to delivering and embedding climate solutions to protect the world.

A Stirling alumnus, Mr Robinson decided to devote his life to protecting the forest and the environment after he was left shocked by the impact of humans on nature during a trip to Borneo. He has been Chief Executive of the RSGS since 2008, having previously worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh, and was pivotal in bringing together 60 different organisations under the banner of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland – which has played a key role in driving and influencing decisions on Scotland’s climate targets and activity.

He is a key supporter of the University, helping in the establishment of Scotland’s International Environment Centre, and working with Stirling colleagues – in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh – on the creation of a new Climate Solutions qualification for business leaders.

Reacting to his honorary doctorate, Mr Robinson, an alumnus of the University, said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept this honorary degree. As a graduate of Stirling, it is an especial honour, indeed it is an important institution in our family – I met my wife at Stirling and my son is also now a student, so it is very close to my heart. I could not be more pleased.”

Lewis Pugh

Lewis Pugh

Endurance swimmer and environmental diplomat, Mr Pugh – who has been instrumental in protecting more than two million square kilometres of vulnerable ocean – was recognised for his outstanding contribution to sport and international environmental issues.

Mr Pugh draws attention to the plight of the world’s vulnerable ecosystems by taking on mammoth swim challenges and he was the first person to complete a long-distance swim in every ocean across the world. In a career spanning 35 years, he has pioneered more swims around famous landmarks than any other swimmer in history with his feats including the North Pole, a glacial lake on Mount Everest and the English Channel. He is the United Nations Patron of the Oceans; and his dream is to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Speaking after receiving his honorary degree, Mr Pugh drew parallels between his environmental work and the world-leading research conducted by the University of Stirling, home to Scotland’s International Environment Centre and the Institute of Aquaculture.

Lewis Pugh said: “I am delighted and humbled to receive this recognition and become a Doctor of the University of Stirling. I have enjoyed visiting the Stirling campus, and speaking with students and staff, including scientists conducting vital research into the climate crisis and its impacts. 

“There is much synergy between the mission of the Lewis Pugh Foundation to draw attention to the environmental crises playing out in our oceans – such as overfishing, wildlife decline, global warming and plastic pollution – and the impactful research being conducted in this area at Stirling. I look forward to working with the University in the future.”

1 April 2022

Professor Sir Ian Boyd FRS

Professor Sir Ian Boyd 760x470

Professor Sir Ian Boyd FRS is a marine and polar scientist who was Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government on Food and the Environment.

"I have three pieces of advice for graduates."

Catriona Matthew OBE

Edinburgh-born golfer Catriona Matthew OBE joined the University of Stirling’s international sports scholarship programme in 1987 – becoming the first female to do so – and turned professional in 1995, having graduated in accountancy in 1992.

Catriona Matthew talks about the links between golf and University of Stirling, and the highlights from her career.

Catriona Matthew 760x470