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University of Abertay Dundee

Hundreds of students to graduate with important and industry relevant qualifications.

Student success will be celebrated by the University of Abertay Dundee today, as hundreds of students graduate with important, industry-relevant qualifications to launch their careers.

Four Honorary Graduates who are all great success stories – including BBC Scotland Political Editor Brian Taylor and Olympic gold medallist boxer Richard (Dick) McTaggart MBE – will also receive degrees.

Close to 900 students will graduate, with a total of almost 3,000 people expected to attend the Caird Hall celebrations. The day features the traditional academic procession, the formal ‘capping’ from Abertay’s Chancellor, Lord Cullen of Whitekirk, and the rousing playing of the Abertay University Pipe Band.

This will also be the first summer graduation for students from the newly formed Institute for Arts, Media and Computer Games, Abertay’s pioneering initiative to deliver courses that directly meet the needs of the multi-billion pound computer games industry, and the specialised School of Computing and Engineering Systems, which provides courses including Ethical Hacking.

Professor Bernard King said at the ceremony: “The courses you have all just completed so successfully were designed to equip you for the knowledge economy. We are sure that, when you deploy the high-level skills and subject mastery you have developed, you will be able to achieve challenging and rewarding careers for yourselves.

“In supporting your learning, we have worked very hard to exploit our close links with the industries and professions for which we educate graduates. Many of you have enjoyed and learned from work placements outside the University, or from lectures given by experts and practitioners from industry and the public sector.”

He added: “In short, you have been educated to make a significant social, cultural and industrial contribution to society and our collective economic future.

“We hope you will do so with passion and courage – two attributes that we value highly at Abertay; without passion and courage, no individual and no organisation stands much chance of success. I have no doubt that many of you will go on to make an impact every bit as significant as the honorary graduates you see before you today.”

An Honorary Doctorate of Letters will be awarded to the BBC’s Brian Taylor, while renowned ex-boxer Richard (Dick) McTaggart MBE will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Arts.

In a separate ceremony, retail expert Professor John Dawson will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration, while leading conservationist and Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland Richard (Dick) Balharry MBE will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science.


For further information and images of the Honorary Graduates, please contact Kevin Coe – 01382 308452, mobile 07850 904110 or email


Additional biographical information for the Honorary Graduates:

Brian Taylor, a staunch Dundee United supporter and former Dundee High School pupil, is BBC Scotland’s Political Editor. Born in 1955, he graduated MA (Honours) in English from the University of St Andrews in 1977.

After joining the BBC in 1985, he co-presented the political programme ‘Left, Right and Centre’ before being appointed Political Correspondent and then Political Editor. He covers Scottish politics for all outlets, including BBC Scotland and UK network programmes. In addition, he has presented ‘Good Morning Scotland’ and is a regular contributor to other BBC programmes. Before joining the BBC, he worked in newspapers for eight years, including six years as a lobby correspondent at Westminster.

Brian has written two books on Scotland’s new Parliament and co-written eight more. Among other things, he is the author of The Scottish Parliament (Polygon, Edinburgh University Press, 1999): a definitive account of the road to devolution and its consequences, now republished in revised form.

He updated that narrative in Scotland’s Parliament: Triumph and Disaster (Edinburgh University Press, November 2002). This analyses the early years of the new Parliament.

He has lectured on politics and identity in Washington, Stockholm, Madrid, Edinburgh, London and throughout Germany.

Richard (Dick) McTaggart MBE started life in Dundee’s Dens Road in 1935, the third youngest of 18 children. One of five boxing brothers, he started boxing at the age of 10, winning his first Scottish Youth championship at just 14 years of age, and went on to represent the UK in boxing at three Olympic Games, twice in the Lightweight division (1956, 1960) and once as a Light Welterweight (1964). He won the gold medal in 1956 and was awarded the Val Barker Trophy, as the outstanding boxer of the 1956 Games. He won the bronze medal in 1960 and made it to the 3rd round in 1964.

Dick was also British Commonwealth Lightweight Champion in 1958 and European Lightweight Champion in 1961, as well a five-time ABA champion (1956, 1958, 1960, 1963 and 1965). Overall, he is reckoned to have won 610 of his 634 amateur bouts.

Mr McTaggart received the accolade awarded to the greats of the sport in 2000 when he was voted into the Boxing International Hall of Fame, a fitting reward for one of the sport’s greatest amateur exponents. As well as being a member of the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame, he also served for many years as the Honorary Director of Coaching to successive Scottish Commonwealth Games boxers. The Dick McTaggart Sports Centre in Dundee was named after him.

Professor John Dawson is an international authority on retailing who has has researched and taught the subject since the late 1960s. His degrees are in Geography, Town Planning and Retailing, and in 1983 he was responsible for establishing the Institute for Retail Studies at Stirling University which has since become the leading European centre for research in retailing.

In 1990 he became the first Professor of Marketing at Edinburgh University, a post he held until his retirement in 2009, when he became Emeritus Professor of Edinburgh University and Stirling University. He is also Distinguished Professor of the University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences in Kobe, Japan and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, as well as holding visiting positions to pursue research into retailing at several universities in Japan, Spain, South Africa and the USA, plus research fellowships awarded by the Japanese and Spanish Governments.

For 12 years he was Board Member, including several years as Chairman, of a company operating shops in the National Museums of Scotland. Professor Dawson has written widely in books, major reports and papers in academic journals and has authored or edited over 25 books and major reports. He remains actively involved in research activity into a number of areas linked to innovation in retailing.

Richard (Dick) Balharry MBE was born and brought up in Muirhead near Dundee, and is now one of the most respected conservationists in Scotland today and the Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland. He has played a major part in increasing awareness of the need to safeguard and value the unique natural heritage of Scotland, and has also fronted a number of wildlife programmes on television and contributed to countless media reports and given numerous lectures.

Mr Balharry started his career as a gamekeeper on Highland Estates before joining the Nature Conservancy Council (later SNH). He held a number of posts within the NCC and SNH, where his major contribution was the establishment of the Beinn Eighe and Craig Meagaidh National Nature Reserves as among the finest of their kind in Britain. He was honoured with an MBE in 1995, and following his retirement in 1997 he has held a series of mainly voluntary appointments.

He was chairman of The John Muir Trust for six years until stepping down earlier this year. He continues to chair the Local Access Forum for the Cairngorms National Park and is a member of the Highlands and Islands Forestry Forum, an advisory group for the Forestry Commission. He is currently Chairman of the National Trust for Scotland and President of the Ramblers Association Scotland. He completed an eight-year term on the North Board of Scottish Environment Protection Agency in 2008.

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