World Cup winner and Outlander star to receive honorary degrees from the University of Stirling

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FIFA World Cup winner Lilian Thuram and Outlander star Sam Heughan will receive honorary degrees at next week’s University of Stirling graduation ceremonies, it has been announced.

Double-BAFTA award winning director Hamish Hamilton; the CEO of Whitbread, Alison Brittain CBE; the CEO of the Scottish Grocers Federation, Pete Cheema OBE; and retail expert, Professor John Dawson, will also be recognised at the three-day event.

This summer’s graduation ceremonies will also see former First Minister, The Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell, installed as the University’s sixth Chancellor, succeeding Dr James Naughtie. Following his installation on Tuesday 25 June, Lord McConnell will confer degrees on 2,113 students, over five ceremonies.

Jack McConnell

The Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell will be installed as University of Stirling Chancellor.

Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “At the University of Stirling, we aim to ‘be the difference’ and I am proud that, at this summer’s graduation ceremonies, we will honour six outstanding individuals who embody this ambition and are exemplary role models to our graduands.

“As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, we are delighted to welcome France’s most-capped footballer – and World Cup winner – Lilian Thuram to Stirling, where we will celebrate his outstanding contribution to football and his efforts to tackle racism through education.

“Sam Heughan is one of Scotland’s leading actors – best-known for his role in popular television series Outlander – and, through his charity work, is dedicated to improving the lives of others.

“We are also very pleased to recognise the outstanding contributions of Alison Brittain CBE, one of the UK’s pre-eminent business leaders and one of just six female chief executives listed on the FTSE 100; double-BAFTA award winning director Hamish Hamilton, who has produced and directed many of the biggest live shows on the planet; Pete Cheema OBE, who has transformed the Scottish Grocers Federation into a modern and highly influential trade body; and renowned academic Professor John Dawson, who founded the Institute for Retail Studies at Stirling.

“Graduation is a time of special celebration – and this year’s ceremonies are even more memorable, as they mark the installation of our new Chancellor, The Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell. I warmly welcome home Jack – an alumnus of the University – to his new role and extend my congratulations to all of our graduands and honorary graduands on their hard-earned accomplishments.”

The University of Stirling’s summer graduation ceremonies will take place on Tuesday 25, Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June.

Lilian Thuram

Lilian Thuram credit Jean Bibard FEP

Lilian Thuram – who played for Barcelona, Juventus, Parma and Monaco during his illustrious club career – is the most-capped French footballer, with 142 appearances for the national team between 1994 and 2008. He has an impressive list of honours, including winners’ medals from the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000.

In 2008, at the end of his football career, the former defender – a Unicef ambassador – set up the Lilian Thuram Foundation, which educates against racism and promotes equality.

Mr Thuram is recognised for his outstanding contribution to football, as well as his commitment to tackle racism through education.

Sam Heughan

Sam Heughan credit Matt Sayles

Award-winning, Scots actor Sam Heughan has appeared in a host of television and film productions and is best-known for his role as Jamie Fraser in hit series Outlander. He has won a number of best actor awards for his performances in Outlander, 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.

He is recognised for his outstanding contribution to acting and charitable endeavours.

Hamish Hamilton

Hamish Hamilton

A double-BAFTA award winning director, Hamish Hamilton has produced and directed many of the biggest live shows on the planet – including the Oscars, MTV Video Music Awards, and the Super Bowl Halftime Show – and critically acclaimed content and events for a host of major international recording artists.

In 1998, the University of Stirling graduate founded the production company Done and Dusted, which today has offices around the world and has created events on every continent.

He is recognised for his outstanding contribution to television producing and directing.

Alison Brittain CBE

Alison Brittain CBE

CEO of Whitbread plc, Alison Brittain CBE is one of the UK’s pre-eminent business leaders and influencers. She is one of just five female chief executives to be listed on the FTSE 100.

Throughout her career, which also included a highly successful time working in the banking industry, Mrs Brittain has championed diversity. In 2017, Veuve Clicquot named her Businesswoman of the Year, praising her as “a role model for women striving to reach the top of large organisations across a range of traditionally male-dominated sectors”.

Mrs Brittain is recognised for her outstanding contribution to business and leadership.

Pete Cheema OBE

Pete Cheema OBE

Pete Cheema OBE has vast knowledge and experience of the retailing sector, having owned and managed a number of award-winning stores over the years.

He was appointed to the role of Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation in 2015 – having previously served as President between 2006 and 2008 – and has transformed it into a modern, relevant and highly influential trade body. In addition, Mr Cheema is a board member of the Scottish Retail Consortium and Scotland’s Town Partnership, and also sits on a number of Scottish Government committees.

Mr Cheema is recognised for his outstanding contribution to the convenience store sector in Scotland.

Professor John Dawson

Professor John Dawson

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.

Professor Dawson – who was the leading light in the establishment of the main European Association for Retail Researchers, and the recipient of the Royal Geographical Society’s prestigious Back Award – is recognised for his outstanding contribution to the establishment and pursuit of retail research in the UK and internationally.