Winter graduations honour contributions

The University’s winter 2021 graduation ceremonies will take place in McEwan Hall from 27 November to 8 December.

Three students celebrate with their families after graduation, holding red scrolls up to the sky.

Live video stream

Our graduation ceremonies will be streamed live on this page. The live broadcast will become available approximately 10 minutes before each graduation ceremony begins.


Full details of the ceremonies and their timings are published on our Graduations page.

See Graduations 

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Honorary degrees

In addition to each School's ceremonies, people from across the University community are being honoured for their hard work, public service, and support for others.

Distinguished contributions to a wide range of activities, including scientific education, medical research, child welfare and philanthropy are being celebrated with the award of honorary degrees.

The winners of this year’s Principal’s Medals – the highest award bestowed upon staff and students - have also been announced. 

Helping others

Sarah Brown is the Chair of the global children’s charity Theirworld and Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education.  Theirworld’s mission is to end the global education crisis and unleash the potential of the next generation. Through its on-the-ground projects and advocacy work, it aims to ensure that every child has a safe place to learn and skills for the future. 

Sarah Brown smiling to camera in front of a neutral blurred background.

Sarah provides strategic leadership to worldwide efforts to save and change the lives of women and children. Her commitment to the health of pregnant women and new born children led to the establishment of the Jennifer Brown Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, which carries out life-saving research into the causes of premature birth. 

Sarah is also patron of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres and the SHINE Education Trust and a Global Champion of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. She serves on the global board of UNICEF Executive Director's Generation Limited. 

Sarah Brown receives the honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa.

Inspirational learning

Brian Cameron joined the University in 1963 as an electronics specialist working on a pain research programme. Later, he moved into Meteorology and in 2000 he was asked if he would also work with SCI-FUN, the Scottish Science and Technology Roadshow, as Deputy Director.

Brian’s work took him across Scotland and the north of England, bringing science to thousands of children, as well as working with museums, science centres and government providers.

From the age of 17 Brian has also been involved in community work and in the late 1970s he persuaded Edinburgh Council to allow local people to use a disused primary school as a community centre. He helped establish a network of support for older people and provided help for those with mental health issues, as well as organising holidays for teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds.

In 2011 Brian was appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for outreach work across Scotland and in 2016 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the College of Science and Engineering for ‘Outstanding contribution to promoting GeoSciences in Schools throughout Scotland’.

This honorary degree is given by Edinburgh for his tireless inspiration to students within our University and in schools across Scotland by promoting science learning through his passion for the subject.

Brian Cameron receives the honorary degree of Bachelor of Science.

Voluntary service

Dame Anne Richards is Chief Executive Officer and a director of investment management company Fidelity International.

Between 2007 and 2020, Anne served on the Court of the University – the institution’s governing body - including 6 years as Vice-Convener. Anne is a former chair of the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Practitioner Panel and was appointed a board member of the Institute of International Finance in December 2020.

Anne has almost three decades of experience as an analyst, portfolio manager and Chief Information Officer and is a strong proponent of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing. 

Anne is a Chartered Engineer and began her career as a research fellow at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. Anne was appointed a Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) in June 2021 for services to Financial Services, Women, Education and Science. 

This award is given to Anne for her voluntary service, in particular her outstanding and sustained contribution to the governance of our University and her service to the financial services industry.

Anne Richards receives the honorary degree of Doctor Honoris Causa.

Philanthropic generosity

The generosity of the Row Fogo Charitable Trust has enabled Edinburgh researchers to better understand medical conditions including stroke, small vessel disease, multiple sclerosis and other disabling neurological diseases.

Established by Mrs Gladys Row Fogo in 1970, the Trust supports a range of medical research projects, as well as providing equipment for the care of older people and support for people with disabilities.

Since 2001, the University’s Row Fogo Centre for Research into Aging and the Brain has enabled clinicians to better understand the human brain. Researchers at the Centre are trying to better understand how the brain is damaged by blood vessel diseases, particularly small vessel diseases (SVD). Although SVDs are a main cause of age-related brain diseases such as stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, there is still very limited understanding of these common illnesses and no effective treatment.

Thanks to the Row Fogo Charitable Trust’s funding of this work, we now have clinical guidelines for patients with SVD. Moreover, our research discoveries have contributed to our understanding of other common disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis and Motor Neuron Disease.

The University is deeply grateful to Mr Evan Cuthbertson for his long association with the Row Fogo Charitable Trust and for the support that he has facilitated for the University and many other worthy causes.

On behalf of the Row Fogo Charitable Trust, Mr Evan Cuthbertson receives the Distinction of University Benefactor. 

Principal’s Medals winners

The winners of the 2021 Principal’s Medals have also been announced. This is the highest award bestowed upon students and staff and recognises both professional services and academic colleagues who have made outstanding contributions to both the University and our wider communities. 

Prof Tim Aitman, Chief Investigator, TestEd Programme and Director of the Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine receives the Team Award on behalf of his TestEd colleagues. The TestEd project seeks to develop accurate, cost-effective methods to test for and detect Covid-19 in the saliva of asymptomatic carriers of the virus. The aim is to minimise infection and transmission of infection within the University's staff and student population.

Prof Linda Bauld, Bruce and John Usher Professor of Public Health and Head of the Centre for Population Health Sciences, is recognised for her work in successfully communicating often complex information with regards to Covid-19. Her clear and informed presentation of science has also raised the University’s profile in the public consciousness.

Mr Paul Gorman, Deputy Head of Help Services, Information Services Group, is recognised for his outstanding contribution to the University’s goals of improving the student experience. He has helped establish, and now leads, the EdHelp student support service – a vital aid for students, especially during the pandemic.

Dr Lauren Hall-Lew, Reader in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, is recognised for her exceptional service to the University’s goals of promoting a diverse and inclusive community. She is the creator and co-ordinator of the University’s Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Mentoring Programme and a key member of the Women of Colour network.

Dr Emma Wild-Wood, Director of Postgraduate Studies and Dr Sara Parvis, Director of Postgraduate Taught Masters, both from the School of Divinity, are jointly awarded a medal for exceptional service to the School’s postgraduate students. They have provided pastoral care under difficult circumstances during the past 18 months and have made exceptional efforts to create a welcoming environment for all.

Related links

Graduation information

Honorary degrees

Previous winners of the Principal's Medals