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2015 Honorary fellowships

Five honorary fellowships were awarded in 2015 to Penny Brodie, Stuart Cosgrove, John Duncan, Carol Kirkwood and Eric McVicar.

Penny Brodie

Penny was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She moved to Scotland with her husband and two children, son James and daughter Corrie in July 1990. Penny has worked in the public, private and third sectors during her time in Scotland. She was the project administrator for an urban regeneration project in Dundee, moving from there to work at Dundee University as part of a very small team that established the Visual Research Centre.

Moving on from there, Penny became the chief executive of Perth & Kinross Association of Voluntary Services (PKAVS). It was during Penny’s time at PKAVS that she became involved with Perth College UHI as a Foundation community representative and subsequently taking on a role as a board member and within six months becoming chair of the board, a position that she held from September 2005 to August 2014. After her CEO role at PKAVS, Penny moved to take up the Executive Director position at Lead Scotland (Linking Education and Disability) from November 2007 to August 2015.

Penny has been very active with unpaid activity as well, such as: SCVO Policy Committee and Board of Management for six years; Scotland’s Garden Trust board member since 2005; Soroptimist Club of Perth holding all executive offices; Soroptimist Clubs of Scotland North, again holding all executive offices. Penny has trained as a bereavement counsellor and also served on Fife Children’s Panel for seven years.

Dr Stuart Cosgrove

Dr Stuart Cosgrove is Channel 4’s Director of Creative Diversity with responsibility for Nations and Regions, Sport, Education, Creative and Cultural Diversity, Indie Relations and Paralympics. Formerly Director of Nations and Regions, he had overall responsibility for Channel 4’s strategy and corporate development outside London, encompassing 35% of Channel 4’s originated commissions. He is a Director of BT (Scotland) and a Trustee of the National Endowment of Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and is currently Chair of the Scottish Government’s Digital Industries Advisory Group, advising on Games, Social Media and Technology.

Stuart joined Channel 4 in 1994 and was promoted in 1996 to Controller of Arts and Entertainment, managing arts and entertainment, sports and Channel 4’s flagship American programmes, ER, Friends and Frasier. Programmes originated by the department include the weekly entertainment show TFI Friday, new comedy programmes such as Chris Morris’s Brass Eye and Harry Hill. The department also commissioned some of Channel 4’s longest running programmes, including Father Ted, Eurotrash and The Big Breakfast.

Stuart takes a leadership role in Channel 4’s work with major public bodies and external organisations such as the Arts Council, the Screen Agencies and the devolved government. Stuart was born in Perth, graduated in Drama and English at the University of Hull, and has a PhD in media. He made his name as a cultural critic working as Media Editor of the NME and contributing to The Face, The Guardian and The Observer. He was a regular presenter of the BBC2 flagship arts programme The Late Show. His cult radio series On The Ball is Scotland’s most popular radio show and has won two Sony Awards.

John Duncan OBE

John Duncan is a consultant surgeon at Raigmore Hospital, Inverness, and a Director of Undergraduate Teaching in Inverness for the University of Aberdeen. After graduating from the University of Aberdeen in 1977, he undertook his surgical training in Aberdeen, Inverness, London and Sheffield. A year as a Research Fellow at Harvard University led to the award of a ChM degree from the University of Aberdeen in 1985.

In 2001, John developed the Highland Abdominal Aortic Aneurism Screening Project, offering screening to men over 65 across Highland and the Western Isles. After proving the concept and successful outcomes of the project, the programme continued in NHS Highland until the National Aneurysm Screening service began in 2012. The results of the Highland programme and a parallel research project with University of Aberdeen Centre for Rural Health have been published and demonstrate the importance of the subject and the effectiveness of the programme.

On a national level, John has served the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh as Secretary and then Treasurer since 2007. He took up a three year term as Vice-President of the college in November 2015. John has been married to his wife Jane for 38 years. They have three children, Andrew, Rachael and Helen.

Carol Kirkwood

Carol Kirkwood is one of the BBC’s most experienced weather presenters. She has appeared on all BBC platforms for radio, television and social media. Carol was born in Morar, Inverness-shire. She attended Lochaber High School in Fort William before going on to Napier University in Edinburgh, where she gained a BA in Commerce.

Her BBC career began when she became part of the secretarial reserve in London. She joined the BBC’s television training department at Elstree as a presenter in 1993. Carol was hired by The Weather Channel on its launch in 1996, presenting on satellite and cable television, as well as on Talk Radio. Her training here and at the Met Office led to her joining the team at the BBC Weather Centre in 1998. She currently presents the weather on BBC One’s Breakfast programme on weekday mornings, the Chris Evans breakfast radio show and the Victoria Derbyshire show and has won the Television and Radio Industry Club award for best weather presenter seven times.

Alongside weather reporting, Carol has also appeared in a number of other BBC programmes including Children in Need, The One Show and the 2015 series of Strictly Come Dancing. Carol has also worked as associate director for a head-hunting organisation and as a training consultant for a management consultancy in Cheshire.

Eric McVicar

Originally qualified as an engineer, Eric worked for many years in the oil industry as a consultant for multinationals such as Shell, BP, Marathon and Halliburton. Now living in Strontian on the West coast of Scotland, his family and roots are in the commercial fishing and marine environments of the east coast. Changing careers in the 1980s he went to work at Angus College in Arbroath lecturing in aquaculture.

By 2008, Eric was lecturing at Lochaber College specialising in wild salmonid management and sustainable wild brown trout fishery management. The same year he joined the UHI Millennium Institute Foundation, a body of community representatives formed to uphold the burgeoning university’s constitution. In 2010 he was honoured as a member and guest lecturer at the Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI in Oban, another of the university’s academic partner institutions.

In 2011, Eric set out on an expedition to Norway’s arctic, living with the indigenous Sami people. His experience and links have seen him speaking about Sami fishing survival strategy and on their conservation of cod fisheries. In 2014, and in spite of two hip replacements, he returned to Greenland and the Canadian arctic, living among the tribes of Inuit studying the effect of the 160 years of whaling on their way of life. While there, Eric promoted the work of the Scottish Association for Marine Science and the wider university and established links with the Kongsfjord International Subsea Centre, offering an opportunity for a student to work on the Hurtigruten Arctic Awakening Project.