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Inverness ceremony honours University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) nursing and midwifery graduates

By Gregor White

Some of the nursing students who graduated from UHI.
Some of the nursing students who graduated from UHI.

Leading forensic anthropologist and President of St. John’s College Oxford, Professor Dame Sue Black, Baroness of Strome, and renowned highland musician Duncan Chisholm have been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

The awards were presented at UHI’s nursing and midwifery graduation and celebration of success and achievement at the Free North Church in Inverness – their number including an Easter Ross inventor.

Professor Dame Sue Black is one of the world’s leading forensic anthropologists.

Originally from Inverness, she graduated from the University of Aberdeen, specialising in human anatomy and forensic anthropology.

Her extensive career has included lecturing at St Thomas’ Hospital London and working as a consultant for the Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and United Nations, eventually leading on the war crimes investigations in Kosovo.

Professor Dame Sue Black.
Professor Dame Sue Black.

Speaking about her award, Professor Black said: “It is such an honour to come home and to be awarded this degree by the University of the Highlands and Islands.

"I am so proud to be a true Invernessian and it was Inverness Royal Academy that gave me the most incredible opportunity to use education as my vehicle to explore the world and find my purpose.”

Born and brought up near Inverness, Duncan Chisholm is one of Scotland’s most recognised and accomplished fiddle players and composers.

His musical career began in 1990, fronting folk rock band Wolfstone. The band started playing village halls in the Highlands before performing at festivals and arenas across Europe and the USA.

Over the years, Duncan has performed on stage and recorded with many artists and his compositions complement many radio, television and film productions.

Duncan has produced a series of musical pieces inspired by the wild places of the Scottish Highlands, from the Glens of Strathglass to Sandwood Bay and, most recently, the Black Cuillin of Skye.

Duncan Chisholm.
Duncan Chisholm.

He said: “It is an honour to be awarded this honorary doctorate from UHI and I am very happy to see my musical endeavours appreciated and so clearly perceived. It is always by considering what has gone before, our shared 1000 years of our culture, that we can prepare and design for what will come next. Those foundations of culture give us the strength to create new streams within our tradition. Bringing our tradition together with contemporary media and production has always been at the heart of my work as a musician and creator.

"Traditional music gives us a sense of belonging and a sense of place. It is a great river that flows through our lives and as a custodian of that culture I have always felt a responsibility to protect what has gone before as much as moving it forward in new and exciting ways.”

Professor Black’s honorary doctorate was presented in recognition of her contribution to science and Mr Chisholm’s award recognises his work in the creative arts.

The ceremony also celebrated the success of over 120 students from UHI’s nursing and midwifery departments in Inverness and Stornoway. The students, who were joined by 400 guests, celebrated success in a range of qualifications including Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas, degrees and postgraduate programmes.

The students were played into the ceremony by local piper and UHI Gaelic officer, DJ MacIntyre, and congratulated by Professor Nicola Carey, Head of Nursing and Midwifery. The keynote address was given by Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, who congratulated the students on their dedication and commitment.

Vicki Nairn, UHI’s Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor, told graduates: "We are immensely proud of your achievements. Completing a university or college qualification represents a major milestone in life.

"We wish our new alumni every success, happiness and prosperity as they take the first steps into their new lives.”

Among those graduating was Evanton student Roma Gibb (39) who, during her studies for a BSc in adult nursing also managed to become an inventor!

Over the course of her degree, she garnered praise for devising and developing an innovative product which helps people with mobility issues get a good night’s sleep.

Roma Gibb.
Roma Gibb.

The Bed Band, which is currently going through testing and the patenting process, has received support from Innovate UK, the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal health and life sciences innovation fund, Converge and Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s IMPACT 30 and Pathfinder Accelerator programmes.

Roma said: “My time at UHI has been a life changing experience. Not only have I fulfilled my dream of becoming a community nurse, I have also become an entrepreneur!

"It's been a rollercoaster three years, but the staff and my fellow students have made it the most exciting and rewarding experience.

"Across our cohort you will find the most inspiring new nurses and I'm privileged to graduate alongside them! Congratulations nurses! Thank you UHI!”

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