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Individuals honoured at McEwan Hall

Law graduate and philanthropist, Donald MacDonald and doctor and activist, Denis Mukwege were among honorary graduates at the winter ceremony.

Also honoured at McEwan Hall were the AXA Research Fund for their continued investment into research using cutting edge data analysis to better understand the health complications brought by diabetes.

Professor Aziz Sheikh was awarded the Principal’s Award for Exceptional Service in recognition of his commitment to research making an impact to the lives of those with allergies, asthma and other respiratory conditions, both Scotland and worldwide.

Donald MacDonald and Professor Sir John Savill
Donald MacDonald and Professor Sir John Savill

Donald MacDonald CBE

Donald’s first contact with the University of Edinburgh was as a student and he graduated MA from Edinburgh in Classics in 1962.  A year later he achieved his LLB (Bachelor of Laws) and then became a Chartered Accountant in 1967. A very successful career in corporate finance and venture capital followed.

In 1998 Donald’s keen interest in, and support for, the arts and music was recognised when he was awarded the CBE for services to music.

MND research centre established

Just over 10 years ago, Donald and his wife Louise supported his son Euan, then newly diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND), to establish the University’s Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research, which has grown to an enormously successful Scotland-wide network of 200 doctors and scientists.

Donald’s donation was the first philanthropic donation to fund a neurological research centre and it spearheaded a number of other donations which established centres and cutting-edge research facilities including the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and the Muir Maxwell Epilepsy Centre.

The Euan MacDonald Centre has benefitted from unstinting support from the whole MacDonald family, who were inspirational in the Centre’s programme of voice banking and synthesis so that MND patients need no longer lose their voices.

Professor Sir John SavillChair of Experimental Medicine

Engaging others

Donald and his family have continued a close and supportive relationship with the University over the past 10 years.

Donald has also encouraged many others with an interest in the field to get involved, for example supporting Scott Hastings to engage the interest of the international rugby community in raising funds for MND research. 

Dr Denis Mukwege
Dr Denis Mukwege

Dr Denis Mukwege

Dr Denis Mukwege is a Congolese gynaecologist who has treated thousands of survivors of sexual violence.

The world-renowned doctor, humanitarian and activist has risked his life on many occasions in order to campaign against sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Hospital founder

Dr Mukwege founded the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1999. He expected to be working mainly on issues of maternal heath, but found many patients were victims of extreme sexual violence.

Caring for the survivors of rape

The hospital has grown into an international foundation that cares for rape survivors - physically and psychologically - and helps them to gain independence. Patients who cannot afford medical care are treated without charge.

Since Panzi Hospital opened, Dr Mukwege and his staff have helped to care for more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence.

Dr Mukwege has been fearless in his efforts to increase protections for women and to advocate that those responsible for sexual violence be brought to justice. It is a privilege to be able to honour him for his bravery, compassion and unceasing work to heal survivors.

Professor James SmithVice Principal International

Related links

Euan Macdonald Centre

The Panzi Foundation

View the 2017 Honorary Graduates