Engaging honoraries close winter graduations

29 November 2017

“Challenges are opportunities to show off you talents.”

That was just some of the advice Brian Williamson, CEO of Jumpstart, offered graduates as part of Glasgow Caledonian University’s (GCU) winter ceremonies.

Brian received an Award of Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration. This was in recognition of his outstanding support to start-up ventures and entrepreneurship together with his generous support for GCU’s Caledonian Club and student-mentoring programmes.

He gave a humorous acceptance speech and regaled graduates with an anecdote from his time as a GCU student, where he studied mechanical engineering. Brian told how he drilled a hole in a 10 pence piece through which he threaded wire. He used this to enjoy numerous free games of table football at the students’ union.

Taking inflation into account, he reckoned he owed the University £340 plus, which he produced at the lectern, housed in two large money bags.

He added: “That is both the value and cost of ingenuity.”

Before finishing with: “You can be anything you want to be in life – but one thing you must always be is authentic.”

Lady Susan Rice CBE, Chair of Scotland 2020 Climate Group, was also honoured at the ceremony. She received an Award of Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Scotland’s economic development, including her commitment to climate justice.

She said: “Getting a job in itself is not a measure of success – what you do with that job is.

“In the USA these ceremonies are known as commencements rather than graduations. It is the commencement of the next chapter for you – something new.”

The honorary guests joined over 320 students graduating from Glasgow School for Business and Society at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. 

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE said: “I am delighted to be able to celebrate the work and achievements of these individuals, who are outstanding examples of our university’s enduring commitment to work for the common good."