Hannah McDiarmid

Higher Education Student of the Year 2017

Hannah McDiarmid was awarded the title of University of the Highlands and Islands’ Higher Education Student of the Year 2017.

Hannah achieved a BA (Hons) in Gaelic language and culture while managing cystic fibrosis, a chronic, life-limiting condition which affects the lungs and the digestive systems. Enrolled as a distance-learning student with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, she completed her degree from her hometown of Torvaig, Portree, on the Isle of Skye.

Hannah was nominated for the award by her programme leader, Mark Wringe. He explained: “As a programme leader and lecturer for some of Hannah’s modules, I only saw a capable student who consistently turned in work on time, who always prepared for classes and who achieved good results. She participated in class discussions and answered questions thoughtfully, but didn’t draw attention to herself. She just got on with things.”

Speaking about her award, Hannah said: “I chose to study Gaelic because I have an interest in languages and, after learning a bit in school, I wanted to carry on and learn more about the culture as well. It’s an honour to receive this award, especially as I wasn’t brought up speaking Gaelic, and I will always be very thankful to everyone at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, at home and from the cystic fibrosis team for their kind support and encouragement, which has meant so much to me.”

Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “Hannah was unanimously selected as our higher education student of the year by all representatives of our judging panel. Her determination and dedication in the face of challenging personal circumstances has been exemplary, showing what can be achieved when you set your mind to it. I am delighted that Hannah has gained an honours degree in a subject she feels passionate about and I wish her every success for the future.”

Hannah received a certificate and a cheque for £200 at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI graduation ceremony. Now she has completed her academic studies, she hopes to continue to learn about Gaelic and practise it as much as possible.