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Former prisons chief inspector and leading environmentalist to receive honour at Stirling graduation

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A former police chief who also served as a prisons figurehead and a leading environmentalist will receive honorary degrees at the University of Stirling’s winter graduation ceremonies next week.

In a celebration of their careers and contribution to society, David Strang and Martin Valenti will join more than 1,500 graduands at two ceremonies on Friday 23 November.

Mr Strang will receive recognition for his outstanding contribution, as HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, to ensuring due process, quality and integrity of public services; and to his championing of the rights and wellbeing of vulnerable people in prison.

Spending more than three decades in the police, including roles as Chief Constable of Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and later Lothian and Borders Police, Mr Strang was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2002. He held the senior position inspecting prisons between 2013 and 2018 and has had a long involvement in the reform of criminal justice in Scotland – having worked on the McInnes Committee Summary Justice Review (2001-04); Scottish Sentencing Commission (2003-06); and Scottish Prisons Commission (2007-08).

He was the chair, and is now Honorary Vice President, of the Scottish Association for the Study of Offending; and is currently chair of the inquiry into NHS mental health services in Tayside.

Working in a variety of environmental roles for almost 30 years, Mr Valenti is Strategic Director for the Scottish Land Commission, on secondment from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). He will be recognised for his outstanding contribution to the protection of the environment through these various roles, and as a founding member and Vice-Chair of Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group.

Martin Valenti and David Strang

Martin Valenti (left) and David Strang (right) will receive honorary doctorates at Stirling's winter graduation.

Professor Malcolm MacLeod, Senior Deputy Principal of the University, will confer the degrees at the ceremonies, held at the Gannochy National Tennis Centre on the Stirling campus. He said: “I am delighted to honour two outstanding individuals at our winter graduation ceremonies. They are role models to our graduands and embody the University’s values of excellence, ambition and openness.

“David Strang is a high-profile figure in Scotland and is held in high esteem by policymakers, service users and the wider public for his integrity and years of service in the police and prisons. He is passionate and compassionate in championing the rights and wellbeing of people living with vulnerability in prisons, and those in contact with police services.

“We also celebrate Martin Valenti, who has spent almost three decades working in environmental roles, and is currently Strategic Director for the Scottish Land Commission, on secondment from SEPA. Martin is exceptionally enthusiastic about our environment and a force for positive change.

“Martin has successfully delivered high-profile projects on climate change and on a variety of environmental issues, and, in his current role, he is impressively proactive in creating effective collaborations that deliver innovative approaches to the management of our environment.”

Professor MacLeod added: “I extend my congratulations to all of our graduands and honorary graduands on their hard-earned achievements."

Mr Strang will be presented to the graduation ceremony by Dr Hannah Graham, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, while Mr Valenti will be presented by Professor Maggie Cusack, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Two ceremonies will be held on November 23: the 10am event will celebrate the achievements of students graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport and Stirling Management School, while the 2.30pm ceremony will recognise those graduating from the Faculties of Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

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