University announces four new honorary graduates

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Today the university has announced four honorary graduates at its in-person graduation ceremonies which have been taking place on campus over the past two weeks.

The honorary graduates join 1,925 graduates from the class of 2022 who graduated this week. The four new honorary graduates of the University of Stirling are Lydia Okroj, David Smith MBE, Lewis Pugh and Mike Robinson.

You can find out more about their careers and achievements by clicking on their name below:

Lydia Okroj

Lydia Okroj is a campaigner for women’s rights, who now manages Scotland’s forced marriage and Domestic Abuse helpline. Okroj developed a new model to better process and meet the needs of women and children in registration and regulation with the Care Commission / Inspectorate. In 1997, she was appointed housing policy worker at Scottish Women’s Aid.

David Smith MBE

David Smith MBE is a Paralympic gold medalist who has conquered Mont Ventoux, the hardest climb in the Tour de France – not once but three times. Smith received his MBE for services to rowing. Alongside success at the Paralympic Games, Smith has also won the World Rowing Championships on two occasions, once in 2009 and then again in 2012.

Lewis Pugh

Lewis Pugh is an endurance swimmer and environmental diplomat. Mr Pugh has pioneered more swims around famous landmarks than any other swimmer in history, with his feats including the North Pole, a glacial lake on Mount Everest and the English Channel. He is the United Nations Patron of the Oceans.

Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson, the Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), was pivotal in establishing the diverse and impactful coalition Stop Climate Chaos Scotland. Mr Robinson is also a University of Stirling alumni, graduating in 1988 with a degree in business studies, and has previously worked for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Royal Botanical Gardens of Edinburgh.

All four individuals received honorary doctorates for services and achievements within their respective fields.

Lydia Okroj receiving her honorary doctorate. Credit: University of Stirling

Ms Okroj said: “I am delighted to receive this honorary doctorate. Since the 1970s, University of Stirling staff have contributed significantly to the body of research into the causes and consequences of domestic abuse.

“It is therefore particularly heartening to receive this honour from the University, acknowledging the work that myself and other Women’s Aid workers have done to support and promote the rights of women and children who have experienced domestic abuse.”

David Smith MBE receiving his honorary doctorate for services to rowing. Credit: University of Stirling

Mr Smith said he felt “overwhelmed” on receiving news of his honorary degree and added: “I feel very humbled to be recognised in this way by the University of Stirling, and proud to be included in the graduation day and to celebrate the successes of all the students.”

Lewis Pugh receiving his honorary doctorate for services to the environment. Credit: University of Stirling

Upon being awarded an honorary doctorate Lewis Pugh said: “I am delighted and humbled to receive this recognition and become a Doctor of the University of Stirling. I have enjoyed visiting the Stirling campus, and speaking with students and staff, including scientists conducting vital research into the climate crisis and its impacts. “

Mike Robinson receives his honorary doctorate from the University of Stirling for services to the environment Image credit: University of Stirling

Reacting to his honorary doctorate, Mr Robinson, an alumnus of the University, said: “I am absolutely delighted to accept this honorary degree. As a graduate of Stirling, it is a special honour, indeed it is an important institution in our family – I met my wife at Stirling and my son is also now a student, so it is very close to my heart. I could not be more pleased.”

University of Stirling Vice-Chancellor and Principal Sir Gerry McCormac. Credit: University of Stirling

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “Summer graduation is always a highlight in the university calendar – but this fortnight of events has been incredibly special, as we’ve been able to celebrate three cohorts of students – from 2020, 2021 and 2022.

“We’re delighted that they are joined by four outstanding honorary graduates who are making a real difference to the world in their respective fields and are excellent, inspirational role models for our students and graduates.

“Congratulations to all who have graduated over this two-week period.”

Featured Image Credit: University of Stirling / Twitter

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