Outlander star receives honorary degree from Stirling

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Sam Heughan

Award-winning Scots actor Sam Heughan – best-known for playing the lead role in hit television show Outlander – has spoken of his delight after receiving an honorary degree from the University of Stirling.

The 39-year-old star – recognised for his outstanding contribution to acting and charitable endeavours – said he was “thrilled” by the accolade, as he celebrated alongside hundreds of graduating students in Stirling today (June 27).

Professor John Dawson, an Emeritus Professor of the Universities of Stirling and Edinburgh, also received an honorary doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the establishment and pursuit of retail research in the UK and internationally.

Mr Heughan plays Jamie Fraser in Outlander – part of which was filmed on the Stirling campus, with locations including the Pathfoot Building, the link bridge and Hermitage Woods. He has won a number of best actor awards for his performances in the series, and received nominations for both a BAFTA and a Critic’s Choice Television Award.

Mr Heughan is an ardent supporter of the blood cancer charity, Bloodwise, and has established his own charitable foundation, My Peak Challenge.

On receiving his award, he said: “I am thrilled to be honoured by the University of Stirling, an excellent university in a truly unique setting. I have always had a strong bond with the city and surrounding area, recently spending a great deal of time shooting our television show there. It has a breathtaking landscape and is an inspiring city.

“The current graduates have worked so hard and I have enjoyed celebrating the big day with them.”

graduation shot

More than 2,000 students have graduated from the sun-kissed University of Stirling over the past three days.

As the leading scholar in the field of retail geography, Professor John Dawson worked as Professor of Distributive Studies at the University of Stirling – where he founded the Institute of Retail Studies – and later as the first Professor of Marketing at the University of Edinburgh, where he remained for two decades.

Professor Dawson’s primary research interests revolve around location and management issues in retailing and he has published an extensive body of work – including textbooks, peer reviewed journal articles and industry reports. He was the leading light in the establishment of the main European Association for Retail Researchers, and was the recipient of the Royal Geographical Society’s prestigious Back Award.


Professor Dawson – who is recognised for his outstanding contribution to the establishment and pursuit of retail research in the UK and internationally – said: “I am extremely honoured to be awarded this distinction by the University of Stirling. The University has a global reputation for excellence in research on retailing – and I am delighted to be associated with this.”

Professor Dawson received his honorary degree at this morning’s ceremony, which celebrated the achievements of Stirling Management School graduates; while Mr Heughan was recognised at this afternoon’s Faculty of Social Sciences ceremony.

This summer’s graduation marks an important milestone for the University, with The Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell installed as its sixth Chancellor, succeeding BBC journalist Dr James Naughtie.

The three-day event has seen Lord McConnell – the former First Minister of Scotland – confer degrees upon 2,113 graduating students and six honorary graduates. Double-BAFTA award winning director Hamish Hamilton was celebrated on Tuesday (June 25), while French football star Lilian Thuram; Alison Brittain CBE, CEO of Whitbread; and Pete Cheema OBE, CEO of Scottish Grocers Federation, received their honorary doctorates yesterday (June 26).