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2009 Honorary fellowships

Four honorary fellowships were awarded at the UHI Annual lecture 2009:


Julie Fowlis

Dennis MacLeod

Julie Fowlis receives honorary fellowship Dennis Macleod receives honorary fellowship


Brian Wilson

Oliver Russell receives honorary fellowship Rt Hon Brian Wilson receives honorary fellowship

Ms Julie Fowlis

Julie Fowlis, who was brought up in North Uist and Ross-shire, was the first ever Scottish Gaelic singer to win the BBC Radio 2 folk singer of the year award in 2008. After gaining her music performance honours degree at the University of Strathclyde, she studied the Gaelic language for 12 months at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI in Skye. Julie then spent three years working for the Highland charity Fèis Rois, encouraging children and adults to learn traditional song and music. Since then she has pursued her own successful music career full time. In addition Julie is studying for a masters degree in material culture and the environment (cultar dùthchasach agus an àrainneachd) through Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI.

Mr Dennis MacLeod

Dennis MacLeod was born in Helmsdale, Sutherland, and presently lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A successful businessman and entrepreneur with mining interests in more than a dozen countries, Dennis has a keen interest in Highland culture and history. He was the founding benefactor of the UHI Centre for History, based at North Highland College UHI in Dornoch, and continues to take an interest in, and to support, its activities.

Oliver Russell

Oliver Russell is a former director of merchant bank Samuel Montagu and a Sloan Fellow of the London Business School. Over the last 30 years, with his wife Clare, he has built up a sustainable and profitable business covering farming, forestry, sporting, tourism, golf and renewables at Ballindalloch in Banffshire, based around the Macpherson-Grant family assets and employing up to 30 people during the high season. During that time his voluntary activities have included being chairman of Moray, Badenoch and Strathspey Enterprise Company and of the fundraising committee for the Highland Hospice. During the 1990s he also served on the board of Moray College UHI. For many years he has been chairman of The Gordonstoun Foundation and a member of the Spey Fishery Board.

Rt Hon Brian Wilson

Rt. Hon Brian Wilson was formerly Labour MP for the Cunningham North constituency. He held six government posts under Tony Blair including Scottish education minister and UK energy minister. A journalist and founding editor of the West Highland Free Press, he retired from politics in 2005 but remains a member of the Privy Council. He now lives with his family in Uig, Lewis, and has a varied portfolio of private and public sector roles including chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides at Shawbost in Lewis; energy policy adviser to Lews Castle College UHI; director of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig Development Trust and also of Ionad Cholm Chille Ile, the Gaelic centre on Islay which he was instrumental in establishing.