Glasgow University has heard its first graduation speech in Gaelic in its 567-year history.

The ancient seat awarded a former moderator of the Church of Scotland with an honorary degree partly because of his commitment to the Celtic tongue.

And the Very Rev Dr Angus Morrison accepted with an oration partly in Gaelic.

The university cited Mr Morrison's "contribution to championing Gaelic, refugee and asylum seekers and changing attitudes within the Church to same sex relationships”,

Mr Morrison said: "This is my first University, I was an Undergraduate here in the 70s. Now to come back to receive this award, it’s deeply humbling and absolutely thrilling. It’s a wonderful day.”

He added: “Although I’m not a native speaker of Gaelic, my parents were both from the Isle of Harris. They tended not to use it in the home to their children, but I made up my mind I was going to learn it as a boy, and took it as a subject in school and University.

“I’ve always had a deep love for the language and I’ve done my best to promote its use. Within the Church of Scotland, for example, I’ve been convening the Gaelic group of the Church in recent years and we now have a Gaelic plan in place, which is very exciting.

“I think Gaelic is a wonderful part of our national heritage. It’s a wonderful language and well worthy of our support!”

A ‘prophetic voice for a number of causes close to his heart’ Dr Scott Spurlock, the University of Glasgow’s Senior Lecturer in Scottish Religious Cultures, presented the honorary degree to Mr Morrison.

During his introductory speech, Mr Spurlock said: “Angus provided a prophetic voice for a number of causes close to his heart.

“In 2016 he voiced grave concerns over plans to cut Gaelic medium education in Edinburgh schools, stating ‘I fear that if Gaelic is allowed to wither in Scotland’s capital, it becomes very fragile’.

“In the wake of terrorist attacks in Brussels in 2016 he joined voices with Omar Shaikh of the Islamic Finance Council to express solidarity among faith communities in Scotland and their shared rejection of extremism.

“Angus has also been outspoken in response to the refugee crisis and spearheaded fund raising for the St Andrews Refugee Service in Cairo, which provides education for children, legal advice and counselling for displaced people who have arrived in Egypt.

“As President of the Scottish Churches disability group, Angus has been a strong advocate for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the life of the church, and has voiced the need to support the elderly.

“Angus’ lifelong service to the people of Scotland, both in the Kirk and beyond, his ‘forward-looking’ efforts to advocate equality, justice and servanthood, as well as his championing of the Gaelic language makes him an exemplar of what the University of Glasgow hopes to foster in its graduates.

“He has embodied the leadership and engagement with society that leads to positive change. He has proved inspirational for all those who have worked alongside him and provides an exemplary model for those Glasgow graduates who will follow after him.

“Drawing from the Scripture that has shaped him and in the language that he loves, let me finish with an exhortation befitting Angus Morrison and his life of service. ‘Is math a rinn thu, a sheirbheisich mhaith is dhìleis.’ (Mata 25:21) [Well done, good and faithful servant!]”