Archaeology student makes it two years in a row for Orkney College UHI

An archaeology student based at Orkney College UHI has been named as overall winner of the University of the Highlands and Islands higher education student of the year award. Last year, Orkney students won both the higher education award and the postgraduate award, with the postgraduate award winner also studying archaeology.

Chosen from entries across the university’s 13 individual academic partners, Gary Lloyd (63) originally from Liverpool and now living in Kirkwall after living in the United States for 45 years, received the higher education student of the year in recognition of his outstanding academic achievement and his novel way of approaching archaeology.

Gary, who has recently graduated with a first class BA (Hons) archaeology degree, was the first undergraduate to undertake a placement at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in East Kilbride - the centre carries out specialist work including radiocarbon dating. His dissertation study, analysing the wear patterns on Iron Age glass beads, has already been put forward for the British Prehistoric Society dissertation prize.  Gary is now studying for a masters degree in archaeological studies.

Receiving his award, he said:

“It’s not something I expected and I am extremely flattered to be honoured in this way. Studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands has been a tremendously rewarding experience and my success here is primarily due to the support and guidance I receive from the lecturers and staff at the college.

Even though it meant relocating from Dallas, Texas, I chose to study at the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute in Orkney because it offers the intimacy of a smaller school with the resources of the wider network. Further, the research the university staff is doing at some of Orkney’s world-renowned archaeological sites presents some exceptional opportunities. I was able to spend the past three summers working at both the Neolithic Ness of Brodgar site and the Iron Age broch at The Cairns. Experiences that provided me with the materials for two unique research projects. Ultimately, I also hope to pursue a PhD here as my wife and I have purchased a house and will now make Orkney our home”.

Scott Timpany, lecturer and programme leader for archaeology, said his nomination had been supported by all members of the archaeology department:

"This award not only recognises Gary's hugely impressive academic achievements, but also his novel way of approaching archaeology and his enthusiasm for study both at the university and in Orkney. We look forward with anticipation too see what he goes on to do next with his postgraduate studies.”

Professor Crichton Lang, University of the Highlands and Islands Principal and Vice-Chancellor (Interim), remarked on the awarding of the overall student of the year awards to the graduates:

“The university is proud of all students who have received accolades in addition to their academic awards this year. These prizes and other awards of recognition are notable achievements for the students, and often reflect not just their own academic and other endeavours, but also the support they have been given by their lecturers and supporting staff, family and friends.

“Gary's achievement shows us that wherever students can apply energy and effort in their chosen subject, even crossing the world to study, then their accomplishments are doubly satisfying. I am proud that we can offer world-class access to some of the best teaching and research facilities and staff in the UK in Orkney and it is right that, for the second year running, that an overall university student of the year award goes to an archaeology student."