Robert Gordon University Announces Honorary Awards

Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, will confer three honorary degrees at its summer graduation ceremonies from 10-13 July 2012.

Malcolm Webb, the Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK, will be awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration (Hon DBA) on Wednesday 11 July at 2.30pm.

A graduate of Liverpool University and a lawyer by profession, he has extensive senior management experience in both the upstream and downstream oil industry.

Malcolm began his oil industry career with Burmah Oil in 1974, and went on to work in a series of senior roles for the British National Oil Corporation, Charterhouse Petroleum Plc and PetroFina SA.

Prior to joining Oil & Gas UK (then called UKOOA) in February 2004, Malcolm spent three years as Director General of the UK Petroleum Industry Association, representing the UK oil refining and marketing sector.  Since joining Oil & Gas UK he has led the organisation through a major change process to make it the leading trade association open to all companies within the UK offshore oil and gas industry.

Malcolm Webb is a member of PILOT, the Government / Industry forum which aims to secure the long-term future of the UK upstream oil and gas industry.  He is also a member of the First Minister of Scotland’s Energy Advisory Board, of the UK’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group and chairman of Common Data Access Limited (the UK industry body which facilitates access to UK geo-technical data).

Malcolm is a great supporter of Aberdeen Business School delivering masterclasses to MBA students as well as supporting research projects.

Professor Dame Jill Macleod Clark, a distinguished nurse who has made an outstanding contribution to the development of the nursing profession and healthcare related education and research, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science (Hon DSc) on Thursday 12th July at 2.30pm.

Jill qualified as a nurse from University College Hospital in London in the 1960s and worked clinically for several years in gynaecology and practice nursing. She obtained a degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics and then completed her PhD in 1982 with a thesis that focused on nurse patient communication.  She then developed a highly successful career in higher education and worked as an academic at the University of London whilst maintaining her engagement in clinical practice. She pioneered the first ever communications course in nursing and became a Professor of Nursing in 1990.

In 1993 she headed up the Nightingale Institute at Kings College London where she facilitated the move and amalgamation of several Schools of Nursing into the University of London.  In 1998 Jill moved to the University of Southampton to become the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Health and Life Sciences as well as the Head of School for Nursing and Midwifery.  She spearheaded the developments of inter-professional education as part of the New Generation Project and implemented a clinical nursing research strategy which resulted in nursing and midwifery research in Southampton gaining the highest ranking in the 2008 United Kingdom Research Assessment Exercise.

Jill became a Dame of the British Empire in 2000 in recognition of her ground-breaking work in nursing.  She has been a past Chair of the Council of Deans for Health, a member of the Secretary of State’s NHS Modernisation Workforce Taskforce and has been a coach to several leading nursing and midwifery academics within higher education.  She is currently an Emeritus Professor at the University of Southampton as well as Chair of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Academic Research Panel.

She has published over 100 peer reviewed journal articles, several books and achieved millions of pounds in research funding throughout her career.   

Ola Tait professionally known as Ola Gorie, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Design (Hon DDes) on Friday 13th July at 10.30am.

Ola attended Gray's School of Art and in 1959 left as the first graduate of its jewellery department. After leaving college Ola worked in a jewellery workshop in Back Wynd, Aberdeen; she also taught art classes so that she could continue buying tools to make jewellery.  Two years after leaving college, Ola married her husband and business partner, James Arnold Tait known as 'Arnie'. Opportunities for work took Ola and her husband to Canada where they stayed for seven years and raised their three children.  Whilst overseas Ola’s designs continued to be made and sold, and her work remained in the public eye in the UK.

Returning in 1969, Ola and Arnie ploughed their money earned in Canada into buying their jewellery shop and manufacturing business in Kirkwall. Her early designs drew heavily on Orkney's heritage.  Her jewellery found acceptance both locally and, by the end of the 1970s, found favour across the country.  Appreciation of it grew as part of the wider craft movement in Britain in general, and the Scottish Highlands in particular.  Jewellery collections were completed for ‘Historic Collections / Past Times’, for Liberty’s of London 100th Anniversary and various collections were produced for the British Museum Shop and House of Commons.  Commissions for one-off pieces were also accepted for the Queen Mother.

By the time of her retirement from business, in 1997, the company employed as many as 55 staff, and her jewellery was exported around the world.  The business is now run, on a smaller scale, by Ola's daughter, textile designer Ingrid Tait, and operates out of the same premises the family business has occupied since 1969.

In 1999 Ola was awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to the jewellery industry.  In November 2010, the Orkney Museum launched a retrospective exhibition, 'Celebrating 50 Years of Ola Gorie.'  It ran to the end of January 2011 and confirms her importance in contemporary Orcadian culture. 

Notes to editors:

The dates and times of the University’s graduation ceremonies are given below.  The honorary graduates will be available for interview and photographs after the appropriate ceremony.  The ceremonies will take place at His Majesty’s Theatre.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

14.30 – Aberdeen Business School

Wednesday 11 July 2012

10.30 – Aberdeen Business School

14.30 – Aberdeen Business School    

Thursday 12 July 2012

10.30 – School of Applied Social Studies and School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences

14.30 – School of Health Sciences and School of Nursing and Midwifery

Friday 13 July 2012

10.30 – Gray’s School of Art and Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and the Built Environment

14.30 – School of Computing and School of Engineering


Issued on behalf of Robert Gordon University by:

Jonathan Shackleton

Head of Communications

Tel: 01224 262031

Mobile: 07973 198199