Alumni Services

New year honours for alumni

A criminology expert, an eminent theologian, an advocate for Scottish arts and culture, and a history graduate who made his mark in the prison service, are among the alumni recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Lesley McAra
Professor Lesley McAra CBE

Professor Lesley McAra, the University's Chair of Penology and Assistant Principal Community Relations, has been appointed CBE for services to criminology. Professor McAra graduated from the University in 1981 with an MA in Social Sciences.

First woman

Professor McAra went on to become Dean of the School of Law, the first woman to be appointed to that post, and is currently a member of the Centre for Law and Society and the Global Justice Academy, and is an Associate Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.

Her research interests lie in the general areas of the sociology of punishment and the sociology of law and deviance. Particular interests include: youth crime and juvenile justice; gender justice and community well-being; the politics of crime control; and comparative criminal justice.

Arts and culture

Ben Thomson CBE
Benjamin Thomson CBE

Professor McAra is joined by Benjamin Thomson, who has been appointed CBE for services to the arts and culture in Scotland. Mr Thomson is a 1985 graduate of Physics, and received an honorary degree from the University in 2016. 

His main career for the last 33 years has been in the financial services sector including 13 years as chief executive and subsequently chairman of Noble Group, the Scottish investment bank. He has played an active role in public life and recently retired after eight years as Chairman of the Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland.

He also advised Scottish Government in the Banking Crisis and wrote the Thomson Review for Scottish Government on Access to Supreme Courts of Scotland. He was Chairman and founder of the think tank Reform Scotland and on the boards of the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Financial Industry Sector Advisory Board.

It is lovely to be recognised for the contribution you make to public life and I am chuffed to bits about the honour.  The award was for my work at the National Galleries of Scotland and I am proud in my eight years as Chair that the organisation has flourished.  In particular, opening up access to contemporary art through the touring program of Artist Rooms, which has reached over 40million round the UK since it launched six years ago, as well as the success of Project Generation to display Scottish contemporary art across Scotland, were two notable achievements for the galleries while I was there.  The added bonus was to be rewarded in this way for a job that I so enjoyed doing, particularly working with such interesting colleagues who helped expand my knowledge about art.

Benjamin Thomson

Education and theology

Very Revd Professor Iain Torrance Kt
Very Revd Professor Iain Torrance Kt

Professor Iain Torrance, a 1971 graduate of Mental Philosophy who also received an honorary degree in 2012, is appointed Knight Bachelor for services to higher education and theology. Currently Pro-Chancellor at the University of Aberdeen, Professor Torrance is a former Moderator of the General Assembly and President of Princeton Theological Seminary. He co-editied the Scottish Journal of Theology for 33 years, and is noted for his work with the British Army on military ethics, as well as his efforts in inter-faith dialogue, and challenging homophobia in all its forms.

I feel quite overwhelmed and deeply grateful that the causes for which I have advocated for so long have been recognised in such a very generous way.

Professor Iain Torrance Kt

Satisfying work

Alan Scott
Alan Scott CBE

1981 History graduate Alan Scott receives the CBE for services to HM Prison and Probation Service and to the community in the north-west. Mr Scott also completed a postgraduate course in Business Administration in 1983 and is currently Acting Director of public sector prisons at the National Offender Management Service.

I feel really proud to receive this honour. I have spent over 30 years working in the Criminal Justice System and working with partner agencies and other key stakeholders. Whilst it has always been challenging it has also been highly rewarding and satisfying work, and I have worked with some truly excellent people at all levels. It was not the career I imagined I would have when I was studying History at Edinburgh in 1977, and later postgraduate Business Administration, but as the song says, “je ne regrette rien”.

Alan Scott

Complete list of honoured alumni

Knight Bachelor


Very Rev Prof Iain Richard TORRANCE Kt

MA Mental Philosophy 1971, Honoray Doctor of Divinity 2012

For services to Higher Education and Theology.


Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George


Ms Diana June Nelson CMG OBE

MA French 1981

For services to the welfare of staff and families working for the British Government overseas.


Dr William George Stirling CMG

BSc Physics 1969, PhD Science and Engineering 1972

For services to British science and international science collaboration


Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire


Professor Sir (David) Keith Peters GBE

Honorary MD  2007

For services to the Advancement of Medical Science.


Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire  


Lady Susan Ilene Rice DBE

Honorary degree 2003

For services to Business, the Arts and charity in Scotland.


Professor Catherine Lilian Warwick DBE

BSc Social Science 1973

For services to Midwifery.


Commanders of the Order of the British Empire


Professor Maureen Lesley McAra CBE

MA Social Sciences 1981

For services to Criminology.  


Rev Canon Dr Joseph John Morrow CBE QC (Lord Lyon) 

BD Divinity General 1979

For public service to Mental Health.  


Mr Andrew Ogilvie Robertson CBE

LLB Law 1964 

For services to Veterans, Healthcare and Affordable Housing in Glasgow and the West of Scotland.  


Mr Alan Scott CBE 

MA History 1981, Postgraduate diploma in Business Administration 1983

For services to HM Prison and Probation Service and to the communty in the North West.  


Mr Benjamin John Paget Thomson CBE FRSE   

For services to Arts and Culture in Scotland.

BSc Physics 1985, Dr hc 2016


Professor Jeremy Bagg OBE    

Dentistry 1979

Head of Dental School, University of Glasgow. For services to Dental Education.


Officers of the Order of the British Empire


Professor Derek Bell OBE 

BSc Pathology (S&E) 1977, MBChB Medicine 1980

For services to Unscheduled Care and Quality Improvement.   


Professor Charanjit Bountra OBE  

PhD Veterinary Medicine 1986   

For services to Translational Medical Research.    


Ms Francesca Elizabeth Hegyi OBE    

Physics 1996

For services to Culture in Hull.   


Members of the Order of the British Empire


Mrs Patricia Edith Boyd MBE    

MEd Education 1975

For services to Religious and Moral Education in Scotland.       


Professor David Hugh Gray Cheape MBE    

 MA Scottish Historical Studies 1974, PhD Humanities and Social Science 2008

For services to Scottish Cultural Education and Traditional Music.  


Dr Ian Morris Davies MBE 

PhD Science and Engineering  1977

For services to Marine Science and voluntary service in the UK and Abroad. 


Mrs Susan Stephen Kennedy MBE  

BSc Social Science General 1976 

For services to General Practice Nurse Education.      


Mrs Patricia Ann Reid MBE   

BSc Science 1967

For services to Tennis and Lacrosse in Scotland.   


Professor William Stephens MBE   

BSc Resource Management 1977

For services to Higher Education.


Medallist of the Order of the British Empire


Mr Gregory Matthew Drozdz BEM  

MA History 1982

For services to the community in Hinckley, Leicestershire.


Mrs Margaret Mary Harvie BEM    

MA German and French 1959    

For services to Music in Dumfries and Galloway.  


The Queen's Ambulance Service Medal


Mrs Kath Charters QAM

BSc Science 1984