Skip header navigation

Leading scientist honoured at Stirling graduation ceremony

Back to news
Rita Colwell
Dr Rita Colwell receiving the award of Doctor of the University from Chancellor of the University of Stirling, Dr James Naughtie.

Over 650 graduates celebrated alongside honorary graduates from science and education on the first day of the University of Stirling’s summer graduation ceremonies.

Cholera expert, the scientist Dr Rita Colwell, received the award of Doctor of the University for her outstanding contribution to marine biotechnology and influences in environmental microbiology.

Congratulating graduates from the faculties of Natural Sciences and Health Sciences and Sport, Dr Colwell said: “It is a very special honour to be recognised for scientific achievement by the University of Stirling. We live in an era of scientific advances that benefit society in many ways and the University of Stirling is an internationally recognised science university.”

Currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and safe drinking water issues in both developed and developing countries, Rita concluded by saying: “I am pleased and honoured to be invited to join the University of Stirling family.”

Also recognised during Wednesday’s ceremony was Alan Simpson OBE, Chair of University Court from 2007 to 2015, who received the award of Doctor of the University for his contribution to the University and for services to higher education. During his tenure he fostered strong relationships within the UK higher education sector and led the University of Stirling through a period of growth and investment.

Praising the support and commitment of University staff past and present, Alan highlighted the positive impact Stirling’s contribution makes globally by saying: “I am thrilled and delighted to receive this degree and to be honoured by such a prestigious institution. Today we are witnessing students receiving degrees from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport and the Stirling Management School which are just two of the areas where Stirling is a real world leader and where the University’s contribution is making such a positive impact on people’s lives.”

Thursday’s ceremonies will celebrate the achievements of almost 650 graduates from the faculties of Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences. Honorary degrees will also be bestowed on academic and poet Professor Zhengshuan Li and former headteacher Ms Elaine Wyllie, founder of the Daily Mile initiative.

This summer, more than 80 percent of Stirling honours degree graduates achieved either a first or 2:1. 96 percent of Stirling graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduation.

Photos, social media and graduate stories from the summer graduation ceremonies are available on the Graduation website.

Notes for editors
Background information


Media enquiries to Rachel MacBeath, Communications Officer on 01786 467760 or

Notes for editors:

University of Stirling

The University of Stirling is ranked fifth in Scotland and 40th in the UK for research intensity in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Stirling is committed to carrying out research which has a positive impact on communities across the globe – addressing real issues, providing solutions and helping to shape society.

Interdisciplinary in its approach, Stirling’s research informs its teaching curriculum and facilitates opportunities for knowledge exchange and collaboration between staff, students, industry partners and the wider community.

At almost 50-years-young, Stirling retains a pioneering spirit and a passion for innovation. Its scenic central Scotland campus – complete with a loch, castle and golf course – is home to more than 12,000 students and 1500 staff representing 114 nationalities. This includes an ever-expanding base for postgraduate study.

You may also be interested in