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2012 Honorary fellowships

The first honorary fellowships awarded by the University of the Highlands and Islands were awarded to Colin MacKay CBE FRCS and Professor Robert Cormack FRSA FRSE.


Professor Robert Cormack FRSA FRSE

Chancellor presenting Honorary Fellow Robert CormackEmeritus Professor Robert Cormack has had an illustrious career in higher education.

After completing his education at Montrose Academy, the University of Aberdeen and Brown University in America, he took up a lectureship in sociology at Queen’s University, Belfast in 1973. He was awarded a personal chair in 1994 and was dean of the faculty of economics and social sciences, before serving as the organisation’s pro-vice-chancellor from 1995 to 2001.

Professor Cormack became principal of UHI Millennium Institute, the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands, in 2001. Before his retirement in 2009, he helped the institution achieve taught degree awarding powers, taking it to the final stages in the process for university title.

Professor Cormack was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2008. Cape Breton University awarded him a Doctor of Letters in 2009 and, the same year, the University of Edinburgh awarded him a Doctor honoris causa. He joined the Court of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in 2010.


Colin MacKay CBE FRCS

Chancellor presenting Honorary Fellow Colin MacKayColin MacKay has had a distinguished career in surgery.

Educated at Hillhead High School in Glasgow and the University of Glasgow, his surgical training was entirely in the West of Scotland, apart from a year in Boston where he held a Medical Research Council Travelling Fellowship. Following his return to Glasgow, he spent 26 years as a consultant surgeon at the Western Infirmary and Gartnavel General Hospital.

In addition to clinical work, Mr MacKay was involved in undergraduate teaching, research and postgraduate medical education. He also served on many committees and public bodies, among them, the Greater Glasgow Health Board and the General Medical Council.

Mr MacKay retired from clinical practice in 1996 when he was elected President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He was awarded the CBE in 2000 for services to medicine.

With family connections to Argyll and Wester Ross, Mr MacKay became the Chair of the UHI Millennium Institute Board of Governors in 2001. Under his chairmanship, UHI developed from being a project to an innovative higher education institution, recognised throughout the world. Mr MacKay stepped down in December 2009.