Royalty and rock star attend university and college event
Shetland College UHI Higher Education Student of the Year Karen Marshall presents HRH The Princess Royal with flowers
HRH The Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, officially opened a new extension at Shetland College UHI today (Tuesday 16 September). The £4.5m development, funded by Shetland College UHI with assistance from Shetland Islands Council, European Regional Development Fund and Scottish Funding Council, provides new facilities for students and staff, including video-conferencing suites, an improved café and student social area and a new library. During her visit, HRH The Princess Royal enjoyed a tour of the extension, met students and staff from a range of courses and was presented with knitwear and flowers.
HRH then travelled to Mareel to preside over the Shetland College UHI Graduation Ceremony and the University of the Highlands and Islands Foundation Day. Over 50 people graduated and Shetland College UHI’s Higher Education Student of the Year, Karen Marshall, received her award.
The University of the Highlands and Islands also presented Honorary Fellowships to Gwilym Gibbons and Thomas Prag as part of its Foundation Day proceedings. Honorary Fellowships are awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the university or to education, industry, public service or cultural or creative work.
Mr Gibbons, founder/CEO of arts and heritage consultancy, Creative Help, and a former director of Shetland Arts Development Agency, was recognised for his impact on arts development and educational activities in Shetland and beyond. His career has spanned venue, festival and partnership management across public, private, health and community sectors and he is credited with leading the development of Mareel, Scotland’s most northerly music, cinema and creative industries centre.
Thomas Prag, chair of the planning, development and infrastructure committee of Highland Council and a Councillor for Inverness South, was presented with an Honorary Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to the University of the Highlands and Islands. Mr Prag, who developed BBC Highland in 1976 and went on to establish Moray Firth Radio, has been a long standing supporter of the university. He was a founding member of the university’s Foundation, helped with marketing and the Development Trust and served as a governor.
The day’s events were rounded off with the University of the Highlands and Islands annual lecture which, this year, was delivered by Midge Ure, OBE. The Scottish musician, best known for playing in the bands Thin Lizzy and Ultravox and for co-writing Do They Know It’s Christmas with Bob Geldof, spoke about education and the ability to create change. Mr Ure was also interviewed by broadcaster, journalist and author, Tom Morton.
Irene Peterson, acting principal of Shetland College UHI, said: “The staff and students of Shetland College UHI felt greatly honoured to welcome our university Chancellor, HRH The Princess Royal, to officially open our new college building today and we were thrilled to have HRH The Princess Royal preside over our higher education graduation ceremony. Shetland College UHI staff and students were also delighted to be selected to host the university’s Foundation Day and Annual Lecture and to welcome Midge Ure, well-known musician and ambassador for Save the Children, as the guest speaker at the lecture.”
Professor Clive Mulholland, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “Today has been a fantastic occasion. We are delighted that HRH The Princess Royal joined us to open Shetland College UHI’s new extension and to preside over the Graduation and Foundation Day ceremony. We were also pleased to award Gwilym Gibbons and Thomas Prag with Honorary Fellowships and to welcome such a well-known and respected musician, entrepreneur and humanitarian to deliver our annual lecture.
“Today’s events have been an opportunity to thank our staff and supporters and to celebrate the achievements of our graduates and students, who of course must be at the heart of what we do.”
Gwilym Gibbons said: “I was delighted and humbled to receive an Honorary Fellowship from the University of the Highlands and Islands today, an institution that I greatly admire for its innovative and forward looking approach to learning and research. It is hard to express the significance for me in receiving this Fellowship at this time and the deep sense of pride and recognition it brings. Thank you for this very kind and surprising gift.”
Thomas Prag said: “I have been passionate about the UHI project for so long it has only just sunk in that is here to stay! When we started folk were dismissive and said we couldn’t do it - now it is easily accepted as part of the fabric of our patch and will contribute hugely to the social and economic life of the area. To be given a Fellowship is the icing on the cake - I am chuffed to bits!”