Outlander star Sam Heughan returned to his roots to join the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) class of 2022 at their graduation in Glasgow on Thursday as he received an honorary doctorate.
The Dumfries and Galloway-born actor, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist has found worldwide fame since graduating from the BA Acting programme in 2003.
Alongside his starring role as Jamie Fraser in Outlander, Heughan is executive producer of Men in Kilts, the travel documentary series with his Outlander co-star Graham McTavish, and founder of award-winning whisky brand The Sassenach.
In 2021, the 42-year-old announced a new ten-year scholarship to support the next generation as they pursue their dreams at RCS.
He is personally funding three annual scholarships for undergraduate students in the school of drama, dance, production and film.
Commenting on his honorary doctorate, Heughan said: “I am honoured to share in this special day and would like to thank the RCS for bestowing on me this wonderful honour.”
Addressing the graduates, Heughan said they have ‘a whole career of possibilities’ ahead of them: “You have had many wonderful new, first experiences here, and will have many to come. This place has given you the greatest start and I’m incredibly excited for you.
“It is here, where my first dream became a reality. It’s here, where I have been shooting a major US TV show, and have been able to rely on the experience and lessons I learnt in this building.
“I never would have imagined back then, walking down Great Western Road on my way to movement class (where we were working on being a tree) or daydreamed that it was possible to make my own work. I never imagined I’d write my first book or have a whisky business or set up a scholarship for fellow students.
“I’m willing you on, I want you all to succeed and I know you will. Dream big and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I cannot wait to see what you all achieve.”
Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of RCS, said: “Sam Heughan is a wonderful ambassador for the arts and Scotland. He’s an artist of international acclaim with an entrepreneurial spirit, who passionately believes in giving back and helping others to fulfil their potential.
“Through his scholarship programme at RCS, he is helping to make the arts accessible for all and supporting the next generation as they follow their dreams.”