The graduation season is almost upon us, with all of Scotland's universities bestowing honorary doctorates on a raft of eminent people, quite apart from recognising the hard work of ordinary students.

Some of the "honoraries" are global names in their academic spheres; others are local men and women who've made good without the benefit of a conventional higher education; and others again are, well, celebrities.

BBC broadcaster Jackie Bird has now joined the ranks of those who can call themselves "Dr" after she received a Doctor of Letters from Glasgow University. Among other graduands at the Bute Hall on Wednesday were Rolf-Dieter Heuer, director-general of the CERN Institute in Geneva, responsible for the Hadron Collider.

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So which other famous faces have been given degrees by Scotland's universities? Here are some who've received the academic limelight over the past five years.


  • Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sachs
  • Rugby player Chris Cusiter
  • Scientist Lord Robert Winston
  • Composer James MacMillan
  • Scientist Richard Dawkins
  • Businessman Moir Lochhead
  • Broadcaster Edi Stark
  • Businessman Martin Gilbert
  • Financier Susan Rice
  • Naturalist Sir David Attenborough
  • Rower Sir Steve Redgrave
  • Novelist Ali Smith


  • Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes
  • Actor Tony Roper
  • Broadcaster Eddie Mair
  • Businessman Bill Gammell
  • Artist John Lowrie Morrisson
  • Journalist Brian Taylor
  • Boxer Dick McTaggart
  • Astronaut Alvin Drew
  • Historian Neil Oliver


  • Novelist Rosamunde Pilcher
  • Musician Nick Cave
  • Football manager Jim McLean
  • Artist John Byrne


  • Artist John Byrne
  • Politician Neil MacCormick
  • Musician Annie Lennox
  • Reverend Desmond Tutu
  • Footballer Alan Little
  • Musician Aly Bain
  • Musician Phil Cunningham
  • Campaigner Olivia Giles
  • Actress Maggie Cheung
  • Chef Martin Wishart
  • Musician Nicola Benedetti


  • Actor Nigel Planer
  • Novelist Christopher Brookmyre
  • Composer Craig Armstrong
  • Musician Dame Evelyn Glennie
  • Actor Sir Sean Connery
  • Actor Brian Cox
  • Musician Bert Jansch
  • Entrepreneurs Gerald and Vera Weisfeld


  • Restaurateur Charan Gill
  • Politician John McFall
  • Comedian Elaine C. Smith
  • Author Jackie Kay
  • Author Denise Mina

Glasgow Caledonian

  • Hotelier Donald Macdonald
  • Musician Midge Ure
  • Musician Jack Bruce
  • Dramatist Eileen Gallagher
  • Broadcaster Sally Magnusson
  • Politician Lord Neil Kinnock
  • Entrepreneur Azeem Ibrahim
  • Author Jackie Kay
  • Satirist Armando Iannucci
  • Actress Blythe Duff
  • Director David MacLennan
  • Diplomat Kofi Annan

Glasgow School of Art

  • Photographer Harry Benson
  • Architect Andy MacMillan
  • Architect Isi Metzstein

Heriot Watt

  • Designer Zandra Rhodes
  • Veteran Simon Weston
  • Comedian Rory Bremner
  • Politician Tam Dalyell
  • Retailer Mary Portas
  • Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
  • Broadcaster Robert Peston
  • Musician Nicola Benedetti

Queen Margaret

  • Chef Albert Roux
  • Actor David Hayman
  • Actor Brian Cox
  • Dramatist Liz Lochhead
  • Musician Dame Evelyn Glennie
  • Financier Susan Rice
  • Artist John Bellany
  • Hotelier Ken McCulloch

Robert Gordon

  • Businessman Sir Bill Gammell
  • Dancer Michael Clark
  • Explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes
  • Businessman Donald Trump
  • Rower Katherine Grainger
  • Musician Karen Matheson
  • Broadcaster Nicky Campbell
  • Politician David Trimble
  • Broadcaster Alan Johnston
  • Campaigner Terry Waite

St Andrews

  • Academic Noam Chomsky
  • Author AS Byatt
  • Author AL Kennedy
  • Naturalist Sir David Attenborough
  • Actress Dame Judi Dench
  • Rower Sir Steve Redgrave
  • Golfers Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Padraig Harrington
  • Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy
  • Driver Sir Jackie Stewart


  • Football manager Sir Alex Ferguson
  • Politician John McFall
  • Businessman Jim McColl
  • Politician John Reid
  • Politician Dennis Canavan
  • Musician Eddi Reader
  • Broadcaster Kirsty Young


  • Musician Eddi Reader
  • Theatre director Andy Arnold
  • Chief Medical officer Harry Burns
  • Artist John Byrne
  • Politician Dennis Canavan
  • Novelist Allan Massie
  • Businessman Jim McColl
  • Politician John McFall
  • Poet Seamus Heaney

West of Scotland

  • Businessman Chris Gorman
  • Artist John Lowrie Morrison
  • Broadcaster Billy Kay
  • Sports administrator Craig Reedie