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Home > Press > Strathclyde University and Associates News: Honorary degrees for eminent trio

A leading businessman, a renowned chemistry professor and a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland were the distinguished recipients of honorary degrees from Strathclyde this week

Strathclyde University and Associates News: Honorary degrees for eminent trio

Glasgow | Posted on May 31st, 2010

Jim McColl OBE, Chairman and Chief Executive of business development company Clyde Blowers, James Gimzewski, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Very Rev David Lunan, who served as Kirk Moderator in 2008-9, received their doctorates in a ceremony at the University's Barony Hall on Wednesday, 5 May, as part of University Day celebrations.

The awards were made in recognition of their outstanding service in, and contributions to, their respective spheres.

Strathclyde Principal Professor Jim McDonald said: "It is a pleasure to award honorary degrees to such eminent figures. The depth of their knowledge and experience reflects the ethos of Strathclyde as a university with impact in education, research, industry and public life.

"Our honorary graduates are at the forefront of the fields they work in and we are proud to welcome them to Strathclyde."

Mr McColl graduated from Strathclyde in 1978 with an Honours degree in Technology and Business Studies. He went on to work with Weir Pumps, while studying part-time for an MBA at Strathclyde. He later took up a senior management position with Diamond Power Speciality Limited and studied part-time for a Masters in International Accounting and Finance.

Mr McColl joined Coopers and Lybrand as a senior consultant in 1985 and went on to acquire 29.9% of Clyde Blowers plc. The company now has 55% of the world market in its original product line, as well as expanding into other growth engineering sectors. It has a portfolio of 83 companies in 27 countries, employing a total of 5,000 people.

Professor Gimzewski gained a BSc and a PhD in the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry from Strathclyde and has gone on to become an internationally-recognised pioneer in the field of nanotechnology. He spent 18 years at international technology firm IBM's Zurich research laboratory and there created what is officially recognised as the world's smallest calculator.

After joining UCLA, Professor Gimzewski developed the use of scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) in the imaging of molecules and his team has used the method to identify cancerous cells in patients with lung, breast and pancreatic cancers. He is also involved in a series of collaborative projects between art and science which have been exhibited in museums across the world, with the aim of making scientific insights accessible to non-scientific audiences.

Professor Gimzewski is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Carnegie Centenary Professor in the Department of Physics at Strathclyde.

Mr Lunan studied at the University of Glasgow and took up his first assistant ministry in the Calton area of Glasgow. He served as Minister of St Andrews Lhandbryde Parish Church for 12 years from 1975 and was Moderator of the Presbytery of Moray in 1985-6.

In 1987, Mr Lunan returned to Glasgow as Minister of Renfield St Stephen's Parish church and oversaw the rebuilding of the church after its steeple collapsed. He was Glasgow Presbytery's Clerk from 2001 to 2008 and its Moderator in 1999, before being named Moderator of the General Assembly for 2008-9.

Mr Lunan has been active in world mission and development, taking study tours with Christian Aid to Malawi, the Philippines and South Africa. He has also been a hospital chaplain in Elgin, chaplain to the Tom Allan Counselling Centre and the Lord High Commissioner and honorary chaplain to the church's mission partners.

A Fellowship of the University was also conferred on Dr Peter West OBE, former Secretary to the University of Strathclyde, in recognition of more than 25 years of service as a senior administrator. He is also Convener of the University's Malawi Millennium Project and a former Convener of the Secretaries Group of Universities Scotland. Dr West is currently a special adviser to the Principal.

A further presentation was made of the Strathclyder of the Year Award, presented to a member of the Strathclyde community who has made an outstanding contribution to the University or to society, and in doing so has enhanced the University's reputation.

This year the award has been made jointly to Dr Scott Strachan and Mike Dolan of the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering for their work in bringing sustainable energy facilities to villages via the Gambia Project.

Strathclyde is a great place to study and enjoy life at the same time. And this is where you can find out everything about us - from how we teach, to what's on in Glasgow and how to get around. We want to help you make the most of your time here, so we hope you'll come back to these pages to get all the latest news about what's happening on campus and in and around the city.


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Prof David Gani

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