The Queen of Sweden to be celebrated alongside business and social luminaries at University of Stirling graduation

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The Queen of Sweden, former Mars CEO Grant Reid, gender and equality campaigner Khadija Coll MBE, and entrepreneur Robert Kilgour will receive honorary doctorates from the University of Stirling next week.  

The leading figures will be celebrated for their outstanding contributions to the arts, society, and business at Stirling’s summer graduation ceremonies, which take place across three days from June 27 to 29. 

Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden will be recognised for her exceptional services to dementia. The Queen has long held a passion for caring for those living with dementia and has close relations with the University of Stirling’s world-renowned researchers in dementia and healthy ageing through her charity foundation, Silviahemmet. 

Grant Reid, a graduate in management economics from the University of Stirling, grew up in Kincardine and now lives in the USA. He served as CEO of Mars Inc for nine years, during which time he twinned an ambitious growth programme with a bold leadership agenda, with a particular emphasis on climate change and sustainability. 

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 into 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. 

Robert Kilgour, a former Stirling student, is an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist whose business interests have ranged from local radio and insurance to care homes. Currently the Executive Chairman of Renaissance Care, he is also the founder of Four Seasons Health Care. Robert’s first business venture, whilst still a student, was selling jeans and t-shirts at a stall at Edinburgh’s Ingliston outdoor market. 

The honorary graduates will join 2,251 University of Stirling students over three days of ceremonies and celebration on the Stirling campus, where graduates will be joined by family and friends. 

Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “We are delighted to be awarding these 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 our graduating students.”


Honorary graduand biographies

Queen Silvia of Sweden

Her Majesty Queen Silvia (pictured above) was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1943, where she lived with her family until 1947 when they moved to São Paulo, Brazil. In 1965, she studied as an interpreter at the Munich Institute of Language and Interpretation, qualifying in Spanish.

From 1971 to 1973, Miss Silvia Sommerlath worked as a training manager for Olympic hostesses at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, and later became Head of Protocol for the Organising Committee for the 1976 Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria. It was during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games that Miss Sommerlath met the then Crown Prince of Sweden. Their engagement was announced on 12 March 1976, with the wedding taking place in June that year at Stockholm Cathedral. 

The King and Queen have three children: Crown Princess Victoria, born in 1977, Prince Carl Philip, born in 1979, and Princess Madeleine, born in 1982.

HM The Queen has long had a deep interest in humanitarian issues, including a specific passion for improving the lives of children and young people and caring for those living with dementia.

Her Majesty is Honorary Chair of the World Childhood Foundation, which aims to improve conditions for vulnerable children and children who are exposed to violence or sexual abuse, and in 1994 founded Mentor International, an organisation striving to give young people a sense of self-esteem and the power to grow through mentoring.

In 2009, The King and Queen initiated the World Child & Youth Forum, now known as the Global Child Forum.

The forum works with companies to raise awareness of children’s rights, and to help businesses integrate these perspectives into their operations.

In 2013, to mark the Queen’s 70th birthday, Queen Silvia’s Foundation – Care About the Children - was established to support vulnerable children in Sweden and around the world by assisting established aid agencies. 

In 1996, the Silviahemmet Foundation was initiated by The Queen to promote research and education. The Foundation works with Sophiahemmet University College and Karolinska Institutet to train assistance officers, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and dementia doctors. The Foundation also certifies entire care units in dementia care and is currently supporting a major research project led by University of Stirling experts to develop housing innovations that can better support people living with cognitive conditions, including dementia. 

In October 2021, The Queen and His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf visited the world-renowned Dementia Services Development Centre, based at the University.

Over the years, The Queen has received a number of awards and recognitions for her involvement in social and humanitarian issues, and holds several honorary doctorates.

With a growing number of grandchildren, The Queen likes to spend as much time as possible with her family. She also has a keen interest in history and speaks a number of languages, including Swedish, German, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Grant Reid

Grant F. Reid (pictured above) is former CEO of Mars and current Chair of the Sustainable Markets Initiative Agribusiness Taskforce, which is driving substantial action on how to scale regenerative agriculture.

He is a committed climate actionist and has demonstrated the positive role business can play in addressing environmental and societal issues - while also driving powerful financial performance.

Until the end of 2022, Grant served as CEO at Mars for almost nine years, leading a substantial portfolio, talent, sustainability, and digital transformation agenda. As of the end of 2022, with operations in more than 80 countries, 140,000 associates and net sales of well over $45 billion; Mars has 
a significant economic, environmental, and social footprint serving billions of consumers and their pets. Grant twinned an ambitious growth programme that 
saw sales grow by over 50% with a bold leadership agenda on value creation, climate action and sustainability. 

Before becoming CEO of Mars, Grant had led the Mars Chocolate Segment globally and before that held a number of senior positions in marketing, sales, manufacturing and procurement. Grant has also been a board member and co-chaired the Governance Committee of The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), he co-led the CGF Forest Positive initiative and was a board member of Business For Inclusive Growth.

All driven by his belief that “performance without purpose is meaningless, and purpose without performance is impossible”.

The Sustainable Markets Initiative Agribusiness Taskforce – which Grant chairs – was established at the invitation of the former Prince of Wales. The taskforce – which includes a number of leading CEOs – is driving substantial action on how to scale regenerative agriculture.

Grant holds an honours degree in management economics from the University of Stirling as well as certification in marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

While he has lived in the US for more than 30 years, Grant is a native of Scotland having grown up in Kincardine. He believes his time at the University of Stirling was fundamental to his future success. The quality of the faculty and his fellow students; combined with the encouragement to be rigorous, curious and communicate with clarity; have stood him in good stead in business.

Robert Kilgour

Robert Dow Kilgour (pictured above) is a Scottish entrepreneur, investor, property developer and philanthropist who founded Four Seasons Health Care in 1988, opening its first care home in May 1989 in Fife in Scotland. He left the company in early 2000 when it was the UK’s fifth largest care home operator with 101 care homes and employing over 7,000 staff, subsequently making his final financial exit from the company in 2004.

Robert founded and is CEO of Dow Investments Plc, now in its 34th year. In 2004, he founded, and is currently Executive Chairman of, Renaissance Care which operates 17 care homes throughout Scotland with around 1,200 staff. He is a Co-Founder and Director of video and security systems specialists, NW Security Group and was a founder shareholder and Chairman of Kingdom FM Radio, the local radio franchisee for Fife until he engineered its recent sale.

He is also a Director of Borland Insurance, an Advisory Board Director of E2E - a worldwide community of circa 24,000 entrepreneurs, and an Advisory Council Member of the TaxPayers' Alliance. Robert is a Co-Founder and Ambassador of Local Recovery - a Scotland-wide campaign group with about 7,500 active supporters across the country working at improving Scottish community facilities and helping local groups access available UK Government funding post Brexit.

Robert’s first business ventures, while attending the University of Stirling, were running a stall selling jeans and t-shirts at Edinburgh’s Ingliston Sunday outdoor market and operating a video pinball machine in the reception area of AKD Hall, in addition to being elected Treasurer of the Students' Union.

In 2006, he founded the Scottish online political think-tank, Think Scotland, which recently celebrated its 17th anniversary. In April 2017, he founded, and is currently Chairman of, SBUK, a Scottish business group of approximately 500 businesses campaigning against a second Scottish independence referendum. From 2000-03, Robert was also a Member of the CBI Scottish Council and the CBI UK SME Council.

Born in Edinburgh, brought up in Fife and educated at Loretto School in Musselburgh, Robert splits his time between his main home in London, where his wife works, and his home in Fife. Whenever possible he raises money for Macmillan Cancer Support - raising over £2m for the charity during the last thirty years. Robert was appointed Macmillan’s first Ambassador in December 2018.

Relaxation is trying to compete with his four adult children at any sport and spending quality time with his two grandchildren.

Khadija Coll

Khadija Coll MBE (pictured above) is a social activist and charity founder who was born in a small village in Kenya called Isiolo and has been based in Scotland since 1998. 

Awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2020 birthday honours for services to diversity and equality, Khadija is a long-time campaigner against female genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-based violence. She has supported vulnerable families in Scotland for more than two decades, enthusiastically contributing to and leading charity ventures that have brought about positive change for thousands of vulnerable people.

This drive has been informed by her own lived experiences of facing the cultural, social and economic challenges of moving from Africa to Scotland with a young family.

In 2018, Khadija founded One Community Scotland, a charity offering help and support to families and young people from overseas who are settling here.

The organisation helps New Scots overcome cultural barriers, tackle discrimination and enhance personal, social and economic development.

The charity recruits champions from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to help those new to the country, or in need of support, to overcome any barriers they may face to creating a successful life in Scotland.

One Community Scotland works closely with the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU) - a national centre of expertise on violence - fostering trust between communities and the police to create a safer Scotland.

Khadija listens to the voices of the young people she meets, establishing projects to enable New Scots to meet their potential while settling into life in Scotland. The impact is felt long beyond the end of specific projects, with young people going on to become ambassadors, developing leadership skills to guide and mentor the next group benefiting from her support.

This work was recently recognised in Police Scotland’s Bravery and Excellence Awards 2023, when Khadija picked up the award in the equality, diversity and inclusion category.


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