2014 Honorary fellowships
Six honorary fellowships were awarded in 2014, to Alistair Dodds, Roger Gibbins, Gwilym Gibbons, Alexander Murray, Thomas Prag and Michael Urquhart.
Joint Fellowship award: Alistair Dodds CBE and Dr Roger Gibbins
As recently retired chief executive officers of The Highland Council and NHS Highland, Alistair and Roger led their organisations through the process of health and social care integration. The aim of achieving such integration has long been held as an ambition by policy makers and senior leaders in the sector in Scotland, the UK and around the world.
Alistair and Roger both showed a huge amount of personal commitment and exceptional leadership skills in getting unanimous support. They each engaged with politicians, professionals and other staff and the public.
Since the Highland area embarked on this programme, the Scottish Government has now legislated to ensure all other health and care partnerships work to integrate their services. Perhaps the strongest endorsement of the work Alistair and Roger have led is that, to date, no one is suggesting it was a mistake and we should revert to old ways of working.
Gwilym Gibbons MSc CMgr FCMI FRSA
Gwilym’s career spans venue, festival and partnership management across public, private, health and community sectors. He was the first director of Shetland Arts Development Agency from 2006 to 2014, trebling the organisation’s turnover and transforming it into a high-growth social enterprise. He is credited with leading the development of Mareel, Scotland’s most northerly music, cinema and creative industries centre.
Gwilym is chair of Cultural Enterprise Office Scotland’s business support and development service for micro-creative businesses and practitioners and is founder and chief executive of arts and heritage consultancy, Creative Help. An inaugural board member of Creative Scotland, Gwilym also served as an advisory group member at the Highlands and Islands Structural Funds Partnership and as a director/ trustee of The Touring Network (formerly the Promoters Arts Network). He is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Rev Alexander Murray
The award of Honorary Fellowship of the University of the Highlands and Islands was conferred on the Rev Alexander Murray in recognition of his tremendous services to education and civic life in the Highlands and Islands over 50 years.
Serving also as a councillor, Rev Murray was instrumental in the establishment of Highland Theological College in 1994. He then served with dedication and a great spirit of ecumenicity as the first chairman of Highland Theological College’s Board of Governors for almost 18 years from its inception. Rev Murray also showed great commitment to the idea and worked diligently for the reality of a University of the Highlands and Islands, which was achieved in 2011.
Thomas Prag MA FCMI FRadAcad
Thomas is a graduate of the University of Oxford and then joined the BBC with interest in local broadcasting, which brought him to Inverness in 1976 to develop BBC Highland. In 1981 he helped to start Moray Firth Radio – a pioneering independent station recognised for its innovation and community involvement. The station won national awards on a regular basis and Thomas was honoured with a Radio Academy Fellowship in 1998.
Thomas has taken on many roles in the local community: president of the Chamber of Commerce, co-founder and chair of the Highland Festival and Inverness Harbour Trust. He left MFR at the turn of the century and worked in overseas development mainly in Africa and as a member of the Radio Authority and then Ofcom. Elected to Highland Council in 2007, he is now chair of the planning, development and infrastructure committee of Highland Council.
Thomas was an early supporter and campaigner for the University of the Highlands and Islands, being a founding member of the Foundation, helping with marketing, the Development Trust and serving as a governor.
Michael Urquhart retired in October 2014 as the managing director of Gordon and MacPhail, a hugely successful Moray company which exports whisky around the world.
Twice recipients of the Queens award to Industry under Michael’s leadership, the company has shown significant growth in both foreign and domestic markets. Firmly rooted in the community, Gordon and Macphail is a family run business with a very strong ethos of corporate social responsibility and is regarded as one of the best employers in the region.
He also led the reopening of the Benromach distillery in Forres and has created a boutique operation producing a range of fine whiskies for niche markets, including their organic variety. Michael also chaired the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s Highland and Islands committee for four years and has been lauded for his work and contribution locally and nationally.