UHI North Highland graduates celebrated at graduation ceremony 

Graduates, family, friends, and colleagues gathered at St Peter’s and St Andrew’s Church in Thurso last Friday to celebrate academic achievements and special awards at the UHI North Highland graduation ceremony.

The graduation was the first ceremony to take place since 2019 and the event welcomed graduates from 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.   

Master of ceremony, Professor Stuart Gibb, Director of Research and Innovation and the Environmental Research Institute opened the ceremony and congratulated all celebrating their successes ranging from SVQ level 3 to postgraduate programmes.   

Principal Debbie Murray welcomed over 200 guests and commended the graduates on their commitment and resilience in completing their studies throughout a global pandemic; “This is the most important day of the year for our higher education students and one we are delighted to be able to celebrate together face to face.  

The class of ‘22 have not only achieved their qualifications but have done so, in many cases whilst working and dealing with a global pandemic. All the staff at UHI North Highland are extremely proud of their achievements and are delighted to continue to support our rural communities with flexible approaches to learning.” 

The ceremony was due to be held on Friday 16th September but was postponed due to national mourning for the passing of the Her Majesty, The Queen.   

Viscount Thurso, Lord Lieutenant of Caithness, gave the guest speaker’s address and reminisced of his own career journey and wished the students well, “Well done and congratulations. Remember, chance does favour the prepared mind so wherever you go, whatever chance comes, good luck!”  

The campus, which is spread across the north highlands in Thurso, Dornoch and Alness were particularly delighted to be presenting a number of special awards at this year’s ceremony including; 

The Highlands and Islands Student Association (HISA) Sporting Club of the Year was awarded to the UHI Golf team. 

HISA Full Blues for outstanding sporting achievements to BA (Hons) Professional Golf students, John Oster, Declan Gray, Lewis Johnson, Taylor Kerr, Alan Murphy, Chris Turner, Giovanni Siani, Ewan Cuthbert, and Finlay Wallace.  

UHI North Highland Student of the Year, Access to Construction and Engineering student, Connah Wadsworth for his commitment and dedication to his studies.  

Willie Printie Prize for Engineering Excellence, Liam Elder BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree with distinction. The Willie Printie Prize for Engineering Excellence is donated by Willie Printie, former managing director of LifeScan Scotland. The award acknowledges academic excellence in engineering and is given to someone who began as an apprentice and graduated with a degree in engineering. The winner is selected annually from graduating engineering students from across the UHI partnership.   

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) local network award for Student Excellence on a Non-Accredited Course, Graeme Mcbreen. Graeme also graduated with his BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering degree with distinction.   

Sue Jane Taylor was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from UHI in absentia in recognition of her sustained and significant contribution to UHI and to Scotland’s creative and cultural landscape. 

Professor Frank Rennie was presented with the Chancellor’s Medal in recognition for his exceptional contribution to the development of UHI.  

Donald MacBeath, former Principal who retired in 2020 was presented with the UHI Vice Chancellor’s Award for 36 years of service to the college.   

Anne Bremner, former Director of Learning and Teaching was also presented with the UHI Vice Chancellor’s Award for over 30 years of service to the college.  
UHI’s specially commissioned ceremonial mace, which symbolises the Highlands and Islands, was carried by Mrs Anna Swanson who dedicated 30 years’ of service to UHI North Highland.   
Following the ceremony, staff, graduates, family, and friends were invited to attend a drinks reception and buffet at the Pentland Hotel to celebrate.  

UHI North Highland would like to pay special thanks to Reverend David Malcolm of St Peter’s and St Andrew’s Church, Thurso; photographer John Baikie, Andrew Mackay and all the staff at the Pentland hotel; Piper, Marc Moodie; Mace Bearer, Anna Swanson; guest speaker Lord Viscount Thurso, and all the UHI North Highland staff, students, family, and friends in attendance.