Outlander star Sam Heughan to receive honorary degree

Outlander star Sam Heughan is to receive an honorary degree from the University of Stirling in recognition of his acting and charitable work.

Lilian Thuram, France’s most capped footballer, and double Bafta award-winning director Hamish Hamilton are also among those who will be honoured at the university’s graduation ceremonies next week.

Heughan, best known for his role as Jamie Fraser in the TV drama Outlander, established his charitable foundation My Peak Challenge in 2015.

Lilian Thuram
Lilian Thuram will be honoured for his contribution to football and tackling racism through education (Dave Thompson/PA)

He is president of Scotland Bloodwise, which raises funds for research to tackle blood cancer.

Heughan will be presented with an honorary degree on June 27 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to acting and charitable endeavours.

Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain, Scottish Grocers Federation chief executive  Pete Cheema and retail expert Professor John Dawson will also be honoured at the three-day event.

This summer’s graduation ceremonies will also see former First Minister Lord Jack McConnell installed as the sixth Chancellor of his alma mater, succeeding Dr James Naughtie.

Professor Gerry McCormac, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “At the University of Stirling, we aim to ‘be the difference’ and I am proud that, at this summer’s graduation ceremonies, we will honour six outstanding individuals who embody this ambition and are exemplary role models to our graduands.

“As Scotland’s university for sporting excellence, we are delighted to welcome France’s most-capped footballer – and World Cup winner – Lilian Thuram to Stirling, where we will celebrate his outstanding contribution to football and his efforts to tackle racism through education.

“Sam Heughan is one of Scotland’s leading actors – best-known for his role in popular television series Outlander – and, through his charity work, is dedicated to improving the lives of others.

“We are also very pleased to recognise the outstanding contributions of Alison Brittain CBE, one of the UK’s pre-eminent business leaders and one of just six female chief executives listed on the FTSE 100; double-Bafta award-winning director Hamish Hamilton, who has produced and directed many of the biggest live shows on the planet; Pete Cheema OBE, who has transformed the Scottish Grocers Federation into a modern and highly influential trade body, and renowned academic Professor John Dawson, who founded the Institute for Retail Studies at Stirling.”

University of Stirling new chancellor
Lord McConnell will be installed as chancellor (University of Stirling/PA)

He added: “Graduation is a time of special celebration – and this year’s ceremonies are even more memorable, as they mark the installation of our new Chancellor, The Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell.

“I warmly welcome home Jack – an alumnus of the university – to his new role and extend my congratulations to all of our graduands and honorary graduands on their hard-earned accomplishments.”

World Cup winner Thuram, who played for Barcelona, Juventus, Parma and Monaco during his  club career – is France’s most capped footballer, with 142 appearances for the national team between 1994 and 2008.

In 2008, at the end of his football career, the former defender – a Unicef ambassador – set up the Lilian Thuram Foundation, which aims to educate against racism and promote equality.

He is being recognised for his outstanding contribution to football, as well as his commitment to tackling racism through education.

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