Care homes entrepreneur and charity founder honoured by University of Stirling

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A graduation ceremony in action - a photograph of the graduation hall from above
610 graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, and Faculty of Natural Sciences celebrated today.

An entrepreneur who set up successful care home companies and a campaigner who founded a charity that helps refugees settle in Scotland have received honorary degrees from the University of Stirling.

Robert Kilgour was recognised for entrepreneurship and philanthropy, while Khadija Coll MBE was celebrated for her campaigning and charity work.

Both received their honorary degrees at ceremonies today alongside 610 graduates from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, and Faculty of Natural Sciences. 

Robert Kilgour, a former Stirling student, is an entrepreneur and philanthropist whose business interests have ranged from local radio and insurance to care homes.

Robert Kilgour receives the customary doff of the cap from the University Chancellor Robert Kilgour receives the customary doff of the cap from University Chancellor, the Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell

Currently the Executive Chairman of Renaissance Care, he also founded Four Seasons Health Care. He is an active philanthropist who supports medical research into the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer and heart disease. 

Robert Kilgour said: “I am humbled and honoured to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Stirling 45 years after I studied here.

“I thank Stirling for their recognition of my contribution to entrepreneurship and philanthropy; both of which started while I was at the University of Stirling and neither of which would be possible without the amazing support of the teams I have worked with over the years, my family, and friends.

“My three years at the University of Stirling, including serving as Treasurer of the Students’ Union, taught me so much more than just academic knowledge. They were crammed with life lessons about social interactions, real-life economics and politics in practice, as well as plenty of academic studies. I am very grateful to the University of Stirling for this recognition.”

Robert Kilgour wearing graduation robes and holding a graduation scroll photographed on the bank of the campus loch

Robert Kilgour was recognised for entrepreneurship and philanthropy

Khadija Coll MBE, who has worked with refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland and Africa, is the founder of the charity One Community Scotland, which supports families and young people settling in Glasgow.

Born in Kenya and a resident of Scotland since 1998, she is also a long-time campaigner against female genital mutilation and gender-based violence. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen's 2020 birthday honours for services to diversity and equality.

Khadija Coll MBE wears her graduation gown and holds a scroll on campus

Khadija Coll MBE

Khadija Coll said: “I am truly grateful to be awarded this honorary degree from the University of Stirling. I am so delighted by the recognition of the efforts that are being made towards equality and diversity in Scotland.

“However, this is not a one-woman endeavour. We are all responsible for progress in our communities, so I share this award with all those who are striving to make Scotland a country where people are not restricted by their background and can always find equal opportunity and safety among friends.”

Khadija Coll MBE on stage at graduation ceremony Khadija Coll MBE was recognised for her campaigning and charity work

The Queen of Sweden and former Mars CEO Grant Reid were also awarded honorary degrees from the University this week.  

Athlete Sarah Tait poses in her graduation gown on the running track holding her graduation scroll Sports scholar Sarah Tait took time off the track to celebrate her graduation, ahead of travelling to Finland to compete in the 3,000m steeplchase for Team GB.

Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “We are delighted to be awarding honorary doctorates to such a diverse and well deserving group, who each in their own way have had an influence on our society.   

“They truly are inspirational in their fields, and role models for the students about to graduate with them.”

Today marks the third and final day of the University of Stirling’s summer graduation ceremonies.

Photos from all graduation days can be found on Flickr: Day one (Tuesday 27 June), Day two (Wednesday 28 June) and Day three (Thursday 29 June).

For more information, please visit our graduation webpages.