Honorary graduates

‌‌‌Dame Mary Perkins

Presented by Professor Steve Burt , Stirling Management School

Dame Mary Perkins received the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to retailing and championing the role of women in business.

Mary PerkinsMary Perkins attended Cardiff University where she trained as an optometrist. In 1984, she and her husband founded Specsavers ‌which is now the largest privately owned optical retailer in the world with a turnover estimated at £1.9 billion and with over 1,700 outlets in ten countries.

In the UK the company has over 17 million customers, 60% of which are NHS customers, and 1 in 3 people wearing glasses now choose their frames from Specsavers.  In 2002, the company diversified into hearing services and is now the largest provider of digital hearing aids on the NHS, selling over 200,000 hearing aids per year.

The Honorary Degree is not the only connection between the University of Stirling and the Perkins family, with Mary’s son John, now Managing Director of Specsavers, having previously graduated with an MBA in Retailing from the Management School.

On a personal level, Dame Mary’s achievements have been widely recognised.  She is one of only seven honorary chartered directors of the Institute of Directors, and was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007, in recognition of her business acumen plus her charitable work - particularly with Women’s Refuge and Age Concern.

Other awards include the Rotary International Community and Vocational Service Award for her services to charity; the inaugural Spirit of Everywoman award; and the most outstanding woman in business at the National Business Awards.  She became a Patron of Everywoman, which champions women in business, and was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Institute of Directors.  Last, but not least, in 2013, she was identified as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman’s Hour on Radio 4.

Mr Iain Macdonald

Presented by Dr Keri Davies, Stirling Management School

Mr Iain Macdonald will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the international co-operative movement.

Born in Edinburgh, Mr Macdonald gained an MA in History and Race Relations from the University of Edinburgh and worked in the Ministry of Public Building and Works and the Inner London Education Authority. There, he became a Trade Union, Labour and co-operative activist and on his return to Scotland he joined the Co-operative Union as its Scottish Education Officer. He was also elected as a Strathclyde Regional Councillor and represented Dumbarton for 14 years. He moved to the Co-operative Group in Manchester in 1996 and after posts including Head of Co-operative Strategy, Iain Macdonald was appointed Director-General of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in Geneva in 2002.

Founded in 1895, the ICA is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in the world and currently has 290 member organisations from 100 countries. Their Global300 project shows that the top 300 co-operative businesses alone have a combined turnover equal to the tenth largest world economy. Co-operatives also provide 100 million jobs worldwide. As Director-General, Mr Macdonald raised the profile of the co-operative business model, working to resolve some of the world’s economic and social problems. He represented the ICA as an observer to the UN Economic and Social Council and sat on Freedom from Hunger’s Ambassadors Council. Since leaving the ICA in 2010, Iain Macdonald has worked as a co-operative consultant, a board member of Co-operative Development Scotland and the New Lanark Trust.

Mr Terry O'Connor OBE

Presented by Professor Leigh Sparks, Head of the Stirling Graduate School

Mr Terry O'Connor receives the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to retailing and British business in Singapore.

Originally from the English city of Liverpool, Terry O'Connor left school without formal qualifications and began work in the British retail sector.  After rising to the post of Buying Director of Colorvision at age 23, he moved to Singapore in 1993 as Director of Electrical Buying for Courts.  He was appointed to the post of Commercial Director in 1997 and became Managing Director of Courts Singapore in 2000.

In 2007, Mr O'Connor assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of Courts Asia, the largest electronics, IT and furniture retailer in Southeast Asia.

In the 1990s, Terry O'Connor returned to education and successfully completed the Master of Business Administration in Retailing by Distance Learning at the University of Stirling in 1999.

He is also widely involved in charitable work and has held post including President of the British Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, President of the British Club, Senior Advisor to the Institute of Advertising, Singapore and Chapter Chair of the Young Presidents' Organisation (YPO).  In 2010, he was conferred the award of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and he recently published a book on his personal and professional journey in retail titled 'Why Not?  The Story of a Retail Maverick and Courts'.


Professor James P Smith

Presented by Professor Liam Delaney, Stirling Management School

Professor James Smith will receive the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to our understanding of economic and health issues associated with ageing.

Professor Smith is one of the world’s leading scholars in the area of ageing and a key contributor to the establishment of a worldwide network of longitudinal surveys of ageing, bringing together economics with other disciplines to help understand the challenges facing an ageing world population. For over twenty years James Smith has led the RAND Labor and Population division, one of the main centres of ageing research globally, and he has twice received the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Merit Award, the most distinguished honour NIH grants to a researcher. He is one of the most cited health and labour economists globally and has been a leading figure in developing major ageing studies such as the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing.

Professor Smith is currently working on a major project with David Bell, Professor of Economics at the Stirling Management School, to establish a longitudinal ageing study. He is a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists and received the Ulysses Medal from University College Dublin. In 2011, Professor Smith was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies of Science.

Ms Jean King

Presented by Professor Gerard Hastings, Stirling Management School

Ms Jean King received the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the research output of the University of Stirling and world-wide cancer prevention.

As the Director of Tobacco Control at Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Jean King has played a lead role in controlling tobacco use. Over the past twenty years, she has developed the Code of Practice on Tobacco Industry Funding for Research. This prohibits those in receipt of tobacco funds from receiving CRUK grants. She also developed the Tobacco Advisory Group that supports research and advocacy in key policy areas.

She has driven forward the international agenda to build a coherent response to the toll from tobacco use across national boundaries, especially in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. This included the establishment of the EU Smokefree Partnership that advocates for effective tobacco control in the EU and noninterference by tobacco companies.

Within the UK, Jean was involved in the advertising ban campaign in the 1990s and, more recently, has worked to achieve comprehensive smokefree legislation. CRUK’s most recent campaign, pressing for plain packaging and a ban on point-of-sale displays and vending machines, has so far been successful in the last two of these.

Lastly, Jean King has led CRUK’s commitment to funding academic research on tobacco control. This resulted in the funding of the University’s Centre for Tobacco Control, a research unit that, since 1999, has built up the evidence base around key policy initiatives such as the tobacco ad ban and smokefree public places.

Senator Feargal Quinn

Presented by Professor Steve Burt, Senior Deputy Principal

Senator Feargal Quinn received the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding contribution to entrepreneurship, business and management.

A graduate in commerce from University College, Dublin, Feargal Quinn opened his first ‘Quinn’s supermarket’ in 1960, subsequently changing the name to Superquinn in the 1970s. Superquinn became synonymous with a high level of customer service — with Feargal Quinn authoring a book on customer service: Crowning the Customer — and for innovations including Ireland’s first supermarket loyalty card and the development of own brand products. By the time Feargal sold out his interest in the company in 2005, there were 21 supermarkets and a team of over 5,000.

Senator Quinn chaired the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation sponsored business committee on better regulation, Sensible Rules and in 2006, was appointed an Adjunct Professor in Marketing at the National University of Ireland in Galway.

He is a former President of EuroCommerce, the Brussels — based organisation which represents the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe. Its membership includes over 100 commerce federations in 27 European countries.

Feargal then moved into politics, and was first elected Senator in 1993 from the National University of Ireland constituency. He was a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European

Affairs, the Joint Committee on Finance and Public Service, and the Oireachtas member of the National Economic and Social Forum. Currently, he is a member of the Joint Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

He is the recipient of three Honorary doctorates, the French Ordre national du Mérite and a Papal Knighthood.

Dr Ranee Jayamaha

Presented by Professor David Bell, Stirling Management School

Dr Ranee Jayamaha received the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of her outstanding contribution to central banking in Sri Lanka and internationally.

In 1976, Ranee Jayamaha became one of the first University of Stirling students to graduate as a Master of Science in Economics. She was a British Council scholarship holder at that time. Following her graduation, she returned home to Sri Lanka and to her previous role in the Central Bank, later undertaking and completing a PhD in Monetary Economics at the University of Bradford.

Her career has been exceptionally distinguished, with 37 years of extensive experience in the fields of economics, banking, finance, regulation and administration. Ranee rose to the senior position of Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, but spent considerable periods on secondment to other organisations. These included the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, the Bank of International Settlements and the G8. She has been a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka, the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka and the National Payments Council. She has worked to provide basic banking facilities for civilians during and after the war, and has also developed banking facilities in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

Upon her retirement in 2009, Ranee Jayamaha was immediately appointed as Advisor to His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka and in March 2011, was appointed Chairperson of Hatton

National Bank, the second largest private bank in Sri Lanka. She combines these duties with her role as Presidential Advisor.

She has a large number of research papers and articles published in domestic as well as international journals.

Among her many accolades, she has won the Assert Award of the British Council (1994), Outstanding Service Award by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (2002), Outstanding Contribution to the Banking Industry Award by the Association of Professional Bankes Sri Lanka (2010) and many more.

She is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka.

Mr Chan Lee Mun

Presented by Professor Paul Freathy, Chair of the Institute for Retail Studies

Mr Chan Lee Mun receives the award of Doctor of the University in recognition of his outstanding support, engagement and leadership with respect to the University of Stirling's transnational operations in Singapore.

An engineer by training, Chan Lee Mun joined the founding team which established Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) in 1992.  Mr Chan served in a number of roles at NYP, before being appointed Deputy Principal in 1998 then Principal and CEO in 2007.  Under his leadership, Nanyang Polytechnic became the first educational institution to receive Hewitt Associates' Best Employers in Singapore Award and the Innovation Excellence Award in 2009.  In 2011, the Polytechnic was conferred the prestigious Singapore Quality Award - the pinnacle award for organisational and business excellence conferred - by the Singapore Quality Award Council. 

In 2008, an international collaborative partnership agreement was signed between the University of Stirling and Nanyang Polytechnic.  This Government initiative was designed to foster collaborative relations between Universities with expertise in specialist academic areas and the Polytechnic sector in Singapore.  Central to the success of this initiative has been the direction, advice and guidance provided by Mr Chan.

Throughout, Chan Lee Mun's unswerving dedication and support has ensured that the University of Stirling is acknowledged as a leading provider of higher education in Singapore. Moreover, he has demonstrated a strong commitment towards providing Polytechnic graduates in Singapore with the best possible career options and the opportunity to study at acknowledged centres of excellence. 





© University of Stirling FK9 4LA Scotland UK • Telephone +44 1786 473171 • Scottish Charity No SC011159
Portal Logon