The Queen of Sweden and the former CEO of Mars have received honorary degrees from the University of Stirling.
Her Majesty Queen Silvia was recognised for her outstanding services to dementia while Grant Reid, former CEO of Mars, was celebrated for his exceptional contribution to business, sustainable practices, and social justice.
Both received their honorary degrees at ceremonies today alongside 2,251 graduates from the Faculties of Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Stirling Management School.
Queen Silvia has long held a passion for caring for those living with dementia and, in 1996, initiated the Silviahemmet Foundation to promote research and education. The Foundation offers training programmes for medical staff and others involved in the care of those living with dementia and their families.
The Foundation is currently supporting a major research project led by University of Stirling experts to develop housing innovations that can better support people living with cognitive conditions, including dementia.
Following the ceremony, Queen Silvia will join the University’s Professor of Gerontology and Deputy Principal (Research), Judith Phillips, to visit Maggie’s Forth Valley. The University, in partnership with Silviahemmet, is looking at how Maggie’s cancer support model can be applied to those living with dementia and their families.
Addressing graduates on stage, Queen Silvia said: “My own dedication to the dementia cause is rooted in personal experience. When my mother lived her last years with dementia, I realised how important it is to have the support of skilled and experienced carers. That was the reason why I founded Silviahemmet more than 25 years ago, with the aim of providing improved care and quality of life for people living with dementia and their loved ones.
"I am especially grateful for the cooperation [the University of Stirling] have with us in Sweden when it comes to caring for people with dementia, in order to improve their chances of living not only for longer but also with a higher quality of life.
"I would like to express my deeply felt gratitude to the University of Stirling for honouring me with the title Honorary Graduate."
Grant Reid grew up in Kincardine and graduated in management economics from the University of Stirling in 1982. Now living in the USA, he served as CEO of Mars Inc for more than eight years and is credited with having an instrumental role in transforming and diversifying the business, as well as improving its sustainability. A committed climate actionist, he is now Chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Agribusiness Taskforce which is driving substantial action on how to scale regenerative agriculture.
Mr Reid said: “Since studying at the University of Stirling as an undergraduate, I’ve long held a close affinity with this great institution. That’s why I’m so proud to be commended with an honorary doctorate recognising the positive impact I’ve had in business; particularly the more than 30 years I committed to helping Mars grow, with over eight years as its CEO.
“Little did I know at the time, but my experience studying at the University of Stirling played a pivotal role in my future. The quality of the teaching; specifically, the need for students to be rigorous, curious and communicate with clarity; helped me achieve the success I’ve enjoyed in my career and life. Those same three traits continue to support me today as I use my experience to demonstrate that business can be a force for good in creating value in a more sustainable way.
“I wish all other Stirling graduates receiving their degrees today success in their future endeavours while following their passions, and really look forward to seeing what this generation of graduates will achieve.
“Thank you again to the University of Stirling for this honour and for all the opportunities that my time here created for me.”
Gender and equality campaigner Khadija Coll MBE and entrepreneur Robert Kilgour will be awarded honorary degrees from the University tomorrow [Thursday 29 June].
Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “We are delighted to be awarding honorary doctorates to such a diverse and well deserving group, who each in their own way have had an influence on our society.
“They truly are inspirational in their fields, and role models for the students about to graduate with them.”
Today marks the second day of the University of Stirling’s summer graduation ceremonies, with further ceremonies set to be take place tomorrow.
For more information, please visit our graduation webpages.
View our full graduation image gallery on Flickr.