28 June 2012
Leading Scots in their field have been honoured by Glasgow Caledonian University for their outstanding contributions to science, philanthropy, business, sport and the arts.
Honorary Degrees were conferred on Walter Smith, Sir Harry Burns, Mark Millar, Stephen Craig, Margie Moffat and Tessa Hartmann as 2,000 GCU graduates were urged to “be brave, be bold and be brilliant”.
Walter Smith, one of the most decorated and successful managers in the history of Scottish football, was presented with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University in recognition of his contribution to sport.
Sharing the secret of his success in the footballing world, he said: “Mental toughness is required – the ability to make decisions and stick to them. I know it’s an essential part of any footballer. And honesty, not only with others but with yourself, brutal honesty.
“In my early 20s, I realised I had to sit down and think about what I was doing. I knew I was no Lionel Messi but I loved football, so I decided to go into coaching and management, and at 27 I became the coach at Dundee United. I have had disappointments in my career and each time I have had to sit down and be honest with myself.”
Sir Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science.
He said: “It is a great honour and a privilege to be made an Honorary Doctor of Science at GCU. The University has a wonderful tradition of study of the relationship between society and health and wellbeing and I hope to participate in the further efforts of GCU to improve the health and wellbeing of Scotland.”
Coatbridge-born Mark Millar, writer/film producer and creator of comic book cinema hits Wanted and Kick Ass, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters.
In his address to graduates, Mark revealed a long-established, special connection with GCU.
“My brother is a graduate of GCU and when I was 10 years old, he brought me to the science department. I prayed to be bitten by a radioactive bug so I could get superpowers. I had my first legal beer in the union bar, and I directed my first scene on the GCU campus,” said Mark.
He advised graduates never to give up on their dreams.
“You are going to get knocks, misfires, moments when it is going nowhere. My dog and I would eat on alternate days until the money started coming in,” he said. “Have tenacity. We are living in crazy times, but we have always lived in crazy times. The baton is being passed to you - you are the custodians.”
Stephen Craig, former CEO of All Saints, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University. Professor Christopher Moore, Associate Dean and Chair in Marketing and Retailing, described him as “the greatest fashion retailer of his generation and a great friend to GCU”.
Stephen urged graduates to “be brave, be bold and be brilliant.”
“I’ve been very lucky and I have always approached opportunities with humility and respect. I always remember that I have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you talk. Don’t get arrogant - work hard, play hard and enjoy the fruits of your labour,” he said.
“You’ve got to put it in, work harder and faster. It doesn’t matter what age you are, always dare to dream.”
Tessa Hartmann, founder of the Scottish Fashion Awards and Scotland’s first specialised fashion and lifestyle agency, Hartmann Media, was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University.
Combining her career with her role as an ambassador of the Princes Trust in Scotland, Tessa has been hailed as one of the most influential women in Scotland.
“You should feel immensely proud. The next phase is extremely exciting. Be ready to learn, get in touch with your social intelligence and learn from your peers. Remember anything is possible,” she told graduates. “Be prepared to rehearse as much as you can because the stage is now all yours.”
Margie Moffat, co-founder of A.T. Mays and the Moffat Charitable Trust, was also awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University.
Professor John Wilson, Executive Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor of the Glasgow School for Business and Society, said: “Since 1999, the Moffat Charitable Trust has totalled £15.5million to worthwhile causes.
“One of the beneficiaries has been GCU with the Trust donating a total of £1.3million, of which £700,000 has been for the provision of a unique programme of scholarships. Margie was ranked as Scotland’s most generous in 2008 and in 2010, she was awarded the OBE for charitable services in Ayrshire.”