University of Stirling principal receives knighthood

Conor Riordan, PA Scotland
·2-min read

The principal of a Scottish university is to be knighted in the New Year Honours for services to education.

Professor Gerry McCormac is being recognised for leadership in higher education and the contribution that the University of Stirling makes to the economy.

He has served as the university’s principal and vice-chancellor since May 2010 and was elected convener of Universities Scotland in August.

Prof McCormac said: “I feel very honoured to receive this recognition and am indebted to the staff and students at the University of Stirling whose hard work and dedication have made the university what it is today.

“I’m immensely proud of everything that we have achieved over the past decade and the progress that we’ve made.

“Stirling is an international university with a pioneering spirit and a global reputation for high-quality teaching and research.

“Most importantly, it is a place where ability – not background – is valued.

“Our successes are testament to the tireless work of our wonderful campus community – our passionate and dedicated staff, our talented students and our inspirational alumni.

“The enormous challenges posed by coronavirus over the past 10 months have shone a light on the togetherness, resilience and unwavering support of our community – and this honour reflects their efforts.

“I would like to express my gratitude to all of those who have supported – and continue to support – the university.

“On a personal note, I would also like to thank my family, close friends and colleagues for their support, which is truly appreciated.”

Prof McCormac grew up in Belfast as the eldest of seven children.

He was the first in his family to go to university, obtaining his undergraduate degree at the Ulster Polytechnic and PhD jointly from Ulster and the University of Southampton.

Specialising in space physics, carbon dating and climate change, he spent the early years of his career at the University of Michigan, where he worked on the NASA Dynamics Explorer satellite programme, before heading up the carbon dating facility at Queen’s University Belfast.

His knighthood celebrates Prof McCormac’s leadership at the university – citing the economic foundations established during his tenure and the impact that this will have on future generations.

The university generates around £380 million per annum for the economy – up 90% on the previous review.

He is also recognised for leading the regeneration of the Stirling campus, through the £40 million investment in student residences, £20 million in sports redevelopment, and £21 million in improving research and learning facilities.

The knighthood will be confirmed at an investiture, to be scheduled at a future date.