Alumni Services

New Year Honours for Edinburgh alumni and staff

Contributions to food security and bioscience for health, education and equality, fire safety and more have been recognised in the New Year Honours list 2020.

Music in Swansea

Susan Croall BEM

Mrs Susan Croall (BMus 1961) has been awarded a BEM (British Empire Medal) for services to music in Swansea. After obtaining her degree at the University, Susan taught music in schools in London and Swansea. She has acted as accompanist to the National Eisteddfod Choir and, for a short time, to the Welsh National Opera chorus and is now a private piano teacher and accompanist. She is a former member of the BBC National Chorus of Wales and Swansea Bach Choir and is accompanist to the Swansea Philharmonic Choir and Uplands Arts Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Susan served as the Administrator of the Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts for several years before stepping down in 2019.

I was surprised and delighted to receive the news that I had been awarded the BEM. I have been involved with music in many different ways all my life and am most grateful for the years I spent studying it in the beautiful city of Edinburgh and for the friends I made there.

Mrs Susan Croall BEM

Fire safety

Mr Colin Todd MBE

Colin Todd (BSc 1974, MSc 1975) has been appointed an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to fire safety. He is the founder and managing director of an independent consulting practice specialising in fire safety, fire protection and fire engineering. Colin has considerable experience acting as an expert witness in cases involving fire safety legislation across the UK and was named in the top 10 global influencers in security and fire for 2019 by IFSEC.

I am delighted to receive this honour in recognition of my contribution to fire safety in the UK, which would not have been achieved without the constant support of my children, my colleagues, and, in more recent years, my partner Karen, for the work I have done. The support of my colleagues has enabled me to engage in many activities outside the commercial work of my consulting practice, particularly work on committees and involvement in domestic fire safety, as well as championing various research projects funded by the Fire Industry Association, of which I am a board member.

Mr Colin Todd MBEManaging Director, C.S. Todd & Associates Ltd

Education and equality

Professor Rowena Arshad CBE

Professor Rowena Arshad (EdD 2009, PGC 2015) has received a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for services to education and equality. One of two current members of University staff recognised in the 2020 New Year Honours list, Professor Arshad holds a Chair in Multicultural and Anti-Racist Education and co-directs the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland (CERES). Between 2013 and 2019 she was Head of Moray House School of Education and Sport. Her public appointments have included serving as the Equal Opportunities Commissioner for Scotland from 2001 to 2008.


The honours system is controversial in the UK as it has the word 'Empire' in it. I accepted the honour because someone took the time to pull the nomination together and I am humbled by that. The honour is for work in the area of equalities and this is important as there still remains an urgent need to push for equity. Honouring people who do good work is a good thing but it would be important to modernise the way the honours system is named so that it does not derive from a colonial period.

Professor Rowena Arshad CBECo-Director, Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland

Food security and bioscience for health

Scientist Prof Helen Sang

Professor Helen Sang, Personal Chair of Vertebrate Molecular Development at the  University's Roslin Institute, has been made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) for services to food security and bioscience for health. The Cambridge graduate first joined the University of Edinburgh's department of Molecular Biology on an MRC Training Fellowship, before becoming a Principal Investigator at the AFRC Poultry Research Centre, now the Roslin Institute. She was appointed to her Personal Chair in 2009.

I am really pleased to be recognised for my contributions to bioscience research. The UK is world-leading in bioscience research and the work of UKRI-BBSRC and the many people from universities and industry who support it are key to this success.

Professor Helen Sang OBE FRSEThe Roslin Institute, The University of Edinburgh

Full list of honoured alumni and staff

Patrick Stewart CVO MBE WS

Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for Argyll and Bute. For distinguished personal service to the monarchy.

Professor Rowena Arshad CBE

Lately Head, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh and Co-Director, Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland. For services to Education and Equality

Dr Colin Currie CBE

For charitable and political services

Dr Martyn Blissitt OBE

Veterinary Adviser, Animal Health and Welfare, Scottish Government.  For services to Animal Health

Dr Helen Mckay OBE

Head, Centre for Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change. For services to Forest Science and Forestry

Professor Sheila Mclean OBE FRSE

Professor Emerita of Law and Ethics in Medicine, University of Glasgow. For services to Health and Education

Dr Helen Munn OBE

Lately Executive Director, Academy of Medical Sciences.  For services to the Advancement of Medical Science

Mr Michael Johal MBE

Director, Johal, Munshi and Co. Limited. For services to the Economy and to Community Cohesion

Mr Colin Todd MBE

Fire Safety Consultant. For services to Fire Safety

Professor Helen Sang OBE FRSE

Head of Division, Functional Genetics and Development, The Roslin Institute. For services to Food Security and Bioscience for Health

Mrs Susan Croall BEM

For services to Music in Swansea

Dr Sheena Dykes BEM DL

For voluntary service to Homeless People in High Wycombe

Mr Barry Macaulay BEM

For services to Disability Sport

Mrs Helen Shanahan BEM

Infant Feeding Coordinator, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and Breastfeeding Counsellor, National Childbirth Trust. For services to Midwifery

Miss Kathryn Singh BEM

For services to the Arts and the Asian community in Scotland

Related links

2019 Queen's Birthday Honours