Pioneering female whisky Master Blender among five to be honoured by Strathclyde

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Maureen Robinson, one of the first women in the whisky industry to hold the prestigious title of Master Blender, is one of five people to receive an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde.

Ms Robinson, who studied pharmacy at Strathclyde, retired last year after more than four decades in the industry. She dedicated her professional life to making great Scotch whisky and breaking down barriers for other women to follow in her pioneering footsteps.

Exceptional contribution

In 2021 she was made a Keeper of the Quaich in recognition of her exceptional contribution to the industry and was inducted into the Scotch Whisky Hall of Fame in 2019.

The University will also present honorary degrees to Sir John Parker, a Naval Architect and Mechanical Engineer who became President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, the UK’s national academy for humanities and social sciences, former National Librarian and Chief Executive of the National Library of Scotland, Dr John Scally, and Stuart Patrick, Chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.

The five will receive their honorary degrees during graduation ceremonies at the University’s Barony Hall in October and November.

Special recognition

Strathclyde Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Jim McDonald, said:

These five honorary degrees are being bestowed on distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for their outstanding achievements in their fields and their contributions to their professional communities.

“I hope that our graduating students will be inspired by their achievements, and we are delighted to honour them in this way."

Following an extensive CEO career in Shipbuilding and Engineering, Sir John served on the Boards of more than twenty quoted companies, including chairing six FTSE100 plcs, and the Court of the Bank of England.  Elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering as one of its youngest Fellows in 1983, Sir John is also a Visiting Fellow of the University of Oxford and a recipient of honorary doctorates from several universities in the UK and Ireland. He was President of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, and Chancellor of the University of Southampton. Sir John received his knighthood in 2001 for services to the defence and shipbuilding industries.

Professor Black is also Strategic Director of Innovation and Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science.  She was awarded a CBE in the 2020 New Years’ Honours List for services to the study of law and regulation.

Dr Scally is a Strathclyde graduate who has also held positions of Director of University Collections and Director of Library and University Collections, University of Edinburgh. He is regarded as having provided transformative strategic leadership in adapting The National Library of Scotland to the digital age and the needs of the 21st century.

Stuart Patrick is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has an MBA from Strathclyde. He is a member of the Glasgow Economic Leadership Board, the Sustainable Glasgow Board and co-chairs the Glasgow City Centre Taskforce. He is also chair of Glasgow City of Science and Innovation and was appointed CBE in 2019 for services to business and the Glasgow economy.  In 2020 he was awarded a Strathclyde Executive Leadership Award from Strathclyde Business School.