Outlander star Sam Heughan among recipients of honorary doctorates at Dumfries

Actor Sam Heughan - best known for his role as Jamie Fraser in the TV drama series Outlander - is to receive an honorary doctorate at the University of Glasgow’s Dumfries campus in recognition of his artistic success and his charitable work.

On the 20th anniversary of the University’s Dumfries campus, the University is also conferring the honorary degrees of Doctor of the University on Wednesday, 3 July, to:

  • Dr Fiona Armstrong, Lady MacGregor, TV journalist and Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries;
  • Sir Peter Lampl, Chairman of The Sutton Trust;
  • David Mayer de Rothschild - a British adventurer, ecologist, environmentalist and head of the charity Sculpt the Future Foundation;
  • Alice Thompson, co-founder of Social Bite, which started in 2012 as a sandwich shop in Rose Street in Edinburgh which operated as a social business, giving away all profits to good causes;
  • and Andrew Walls FRCS, Convener of The Crichton Foundation.


The work of the recipients of the honorary degrees reflects the core interests of the University’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Dumfries. For example, the Outlander series was filmed in a number of locations in Scotland, boosting tourism - taught at postgraduate level; the Sutton Trust promotes widening participation in higher education - an underlying principle of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies; and the aims of David Mayer de Rothschild’s charity chime with the Environmental Science and Sustainability degree course at Dumfries. Alice Thompson’s social enterprise vision and Andrew Walls’ background in medicine have parallels with the School’s degree in Health and Social Policy.

Professor Carol Hill, Head of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the University’s Dumfries campus, said: “This campus has grown in influence and impact since it was opened 20 years ago in September 1999 to serve the higher education needs of Dumfries and Galloway. In this, our 20th anniversary year of celebrations, we at Dumfries are delighted to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our honorary graduates, representing a range of talents, careers and charitable interests.”

As part of its “20 years in Dumfries” celebrations, the University’s Dumfries campus is hosting a series of lectures, conferences and other events. www.gla.ac.uk/events­/dumfries/

Heughan was born in 1980 in the Dumfries and Galloway village Balmaclellan before moving to nearby New Galloway. He moved to Edinburgh at the age of 12 and graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in 2003. He is best known for his role as Jamie Fraser in the Starz hit series Outlander, for which he received two nominations for the Saturn Awards. He was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award for Most Promising Performer in 2003 for his performance in the play Outlying Islands, which was performed at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs. Since then he has performed widely in film, TV and theatre. He has also been active in charitable work.

Attributing much of his early success to his participation in youth theatre, Heughan became a patron for Youth Theatre Arts Scotland in 2014. In 2015, he established his charitable foundation My Peak Challenge - a training, nutrition and support programme which provides participants with a sense of community as they work towards personal goals which at the same time raising money for charity. The foundation has partnered with Leukemia Lymphoma Research, Bear Strength Clothing and Fight Camp Glasgow to raise funds for cancer research. In 2019, Heughan teamed up with Omaze, raffling off a date to the 2019 MPC Gala, which raised $2,892,080 for Bloodwise UK; he is also president of Scotland Bloodwise. Last year he ran both the Stirling and EMF Edinburgh Marathons to raise money for Cahonas Scotland’s Testicular Cancer Education and Awareness Programme.


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