Deacon Blue star Ricky Ross is among those being honoured by a university as it marks graduations with an online celebration amid the pandemic.
The musician and broadcaster will receive a Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) for his outstanding contribution to Scottish music and culture, and for his support to the GCU Archive Centre.
He supported a campaign to digitise a photography archive containing iconic Scottish images taken by the celebrated photographer Oscar Marzaroli, which had been donated by his family to GCU’s Archive.
Ross, who got to know the photographer when Deacon Blue used his images on their early record covers, helped launch the fundraising campaign to raise the £200,000 needed for the work needed to preserve, catalogue and digitise the entire collection and make it freely available to view online.
GCU is holding an online celebration for graduates from the classes of 2020 and 2021 on Thursday as physical ceremonies have not been possible due to coronavirus restrictions.
Ross said: “I am delighted to accept this great honour from Glasgow Caledonian University. Over the past couple of years, I’ve become aware of how much the university is at the heart of the city and its continued growth and success is a great example of how education is key to the culture and the economy of Glasgow and the west of Scotland.
“As someone who has spent more than half my life here, I am grateful for everything Glasgow has given me. The university’s decision to recognise a working musician is a timely reminder of the importance of the arts in our public life.”
He also urged young people not to be worried about making mistakes, saying: “There were many points where I should have listened and didn’t, but to correct those would be to circumvent youth.
“You have everything in front of you and the freedom to make some mistakes. So, let me encourage you to make a few of your own, not to over-worry and keep learning. From now on you mark your own exams.”
He is among nine other people being awarded honorary degrees including former Great Britain Rugby Paralympian Michael Kerr, who is being recognised for his outstanding sporting achievements, while Mark Hogarth, creative director of Harris Tweed Hebrides, is recognised for his outstanding commitment to fashion, design and branding as applied to iconic Scottish brands.
At the online celebration on Thursday, graduates will hear messages from the university’s leadership team including chancellor Dr Annie Lennox and vice-chancellor and principal Professor Pamela Gillies CBE.
Graduates will be invited to a physical ceremony in the future.
Prof Gillies said: “We are so very disappointed that the pandemic means we cannot celebrate together in person at this time. We are, however, a connected community and will find ways of doing so in the not too distant future.
“Graduations also afford us the opportunity to welcome distinguished individuals into our GCU family as honorary graduates.
“This year we are privileged indeed to honour many worthy recipients who are: activists, leaders across many domains, creative designers, cultural icons and contributors and funders of charities and community organisations.
“They all share a deeply held core set of values that align with our own. They authentically live these values and are an inspiration to us all.”