Scotland rugby legend Gregor Townsend and renowned public health expert Professor Linda Bauld were awarded honorary degrees from Robert Gordon University (RGU) today.
During the graduation ceremonies, which saw hundreds of students and their families celebrate successes, Mr Townsend received a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in recognition of his services to the sport as a former player and current head coach of the national team.
Prof Bauld, who came to the fore with her advice during the Covid pandemic, was awarded a Doctor of Science (DSc) in recognition of her extensive research within public health, particularly in alcohol use and smoking cessation.
Professor Steve Olivier, principal and vice-chancellor of RGU, said it was a “fantastic honour” to celebrate their respective work as a “true sporting hero who has made a huge impact on rugby” and as a scientist whose “inspiring research career is dedicated to finding ways to make us all live happier and healthier by tackling major issues such as cancer, diabetes and smoking”.
Sporting and scientific achievements celebrated at RGU graduations
Mr Townsend, who hung up his boots in 2007, made more than 80 appearances for Scotland, winning the 1999 Five Nations Championship and also starring for the British and Irish Lions.
Prof Olivier said: “Most recently, of course, he leads the current Scotland players to realise their own ambitions on the field of play and is doing a great job in doing so.
“He is without doubt someone students and the university community will be inspired by.”
The rugby star was appointed as Scotland’s head coach in 2017 and has a higher win percentage than any of his predecessors.
A familiar face to many, Prof Bauld made regular television appearances throughout the pandemic, using her scientific knowledge to help the public understand Covid-19.
The university principal added: “Professor Bauld has made an immense contribution to helping improve public health with her crucial research which has an impact on all our lives.
“This work is continuing with her role as an advisor to the Scottish Government as we continue to adapt and recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”