The University of Stirling honoured Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench with a doctorate in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Arts, particularly to film.
The University paid special tribute to the important role Dame Judi has played in highlighting the work of the University’s Dementia Services Development Centre.
Dame Judi is a well-known supporter of dementia research, education and training. In 2002, she won a BAFTA for her role in the film Iris - for her portrayal of Iris Murdoch, a British novelist who was affected by dementia towards the end of her life. In 2003, the actress officially opened the University’s Iris Murdoch Building which acts as both base for the Dementia Centre and a model for dementia friendly design.
Commenting on her award today, Dame Judi Dench said: “I am delighted to receive this award from the University of Stirling - an institution which is recognised internationally for its outstanding dementia research and support services.
“Dementia is an issue close to my heart. Playing Iris Murdoch in Iris was one of my most challenging roles, but also one of the most important as it broadened my understanding of the issues facing those who develop dementia.
“When I formally opened the Iris Murdoch Building over a decade ago, I was delighted to see a public building which could provide an exemplar for dementia friendly design. Coming back to the University, it is so encouraging to see the myriad ways the Dementia Services Development Centre and its staff have informed practice and made a positive difference to people’s lives.
“I would like to thank the University and the Dementia Services Development Centre for honouring me with this degree and I hope my presence here today will further highlight the world-class research they carry out.”
Professor June Andrews, Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre in the University’s School of Applied Social Science said: "It's a great honour for the Centre to be associated with Dame Judi.
“She's a wonderful role model for our students - working as hard as ever in a job she loves, long after other people have retired. She hates the idea of older people being left with nothing to keep their minds busy and she is determined not to be made to put her feet up.”
She added: “Our courses teach students ways of keeping people busy and happy and well, not least through exercise and we could not have a better example that demonstrates what our research tells us."
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-chancellor of the University said: “We are delighted to welcome back Dame Judi Dench and honoured to confer her with this award, in recognition of her extraordinary talent and contribution to the Arts.
“Dame Judi is one of the greatest stage and film actors of her generation and her long and distinguished career is an inspiration to us all. We are grateful to Dame Judi for her continued support of the University of Stirling and delighted she was able to share this special day with our graduates.”
The University also awarded an honorary doctorate today to Sheikh Dr Ahmed Abdullah Al Ghazali, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to education in Oman, and to his successful career both as an educator and as a leader in education.