University of Stirling Professorial Fellow Sir George Reid has won Scotland’s top award for public service.
Presenting the Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony at the Scottish Parliament on 5 December, Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP said: “George has a record of distinguished public service and leadership at home and abroad: in wars and disasters worldwide with the International Red Cross, at Westminster as an MP and Holyrood as an MSP and Presiding Officer, as an Electoral Commissioner and Trustee of the Edinburgh Tattoo and Glasgow Life, and chair of strategic reviews of public bodies in the UK and Europe.
“George has received many high honours – Lord High Commissioner, Lord-Lieutenant, Knight bachelor – but these days I suspect he is happiest teaching MSc students at Stirling.”
The award was unanimously decided by senior officials from the Scottish Government, Scotland Office, Scottish Parliament, office of the Auditor General and the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations.
Sir George said that his original intention had been to become an academic. After graduating with first-class honours from the University of St Andrews, he went to the USA to learn Russian with the intention of doing a PhD on the Soviet army.
But Sir George’s plans changed when he was spotted by newspaper publisher Lord Beaverbrook and hired as his first graduate trainee.
Sir George added: “Four years ago, I was offered the opportunity to teach the UK’s first module in Humanitarian Studies at the University of Stirling – so my life has come full circle.
“What gives me most satisfaction these days is to see my Stirling graduates working on TB prevention in Nepal, for Syrian women in Jordanian refugee camps, on birth control programmes in Uganda, and with Somali refugees in Maine, USA.”