Heriot-Watt University Dubai awards its first honorary degree in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the development of the UAE’s economy

Published December 1st, 2009 - 12:50 GMT

Heriot-Watt University Dubai, a British institution renowned for its academic excellence and commitment to delivering professionally relevant programmes, has awarded its first ever honorary degree at the Dubai Campus to Derek Shepherd, former managing director of Aggreko International.

The honorary Doctor of Engineering degree has been awarded in recognition of Shepherd’s outstanding contribution to the international growth of the temporary power industry in the region, and to the development of the economies of both Scotland and the UAE.  Shepherd, who became managing director of Aggreko International in 1999, has been an essential catalyst in growing Aggreko’s International arm, placing Dubai as the head quarters for all international business. 

The honorary degree was presented during the University’s impressive graduation ceremony, which celebrated the graduation of over 130 students.  The ceremony marks the first ever graduation of students from Heriot-Watt’s undergraduate engineering degree programmes.

The event celebrated the talent, commitment and academic achievement of Heriot-Watt’s students, and was attended by over 500 graduands, friends and family, academic staff and VIPs, and was presided by Professor Steve Chapman, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University.

Professor Steve Chapmen, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University commented, “We are delighted to recgonise the achievements of Derek Shepherd, a truly “international Scot”, who has contributed so much to the economy and the engineering industry here in the UAE.  We are also excited to be celebrating the success and academic achievements of our dedicated students, who are amongst the brightest and the best in the region.”

Professor Brian Smart, a Deputy Principal of the University and Executive Dean and Head of the Dubai Campus, added, “Our aim at Heriot-Watt is to foster home grown talent, and to deliver programmes which are relevant to the needs of this rapidly developing region.  Having 130 students graduate today is a fantastic achievement and, based on experience of previous Heriot-Watt graduates, I am sure that they will go on to achieve great success.” 

Heriot-Watt was the first international university to open its doors in Dubai International Academic City in 2005, and is Scotland’s most international academic institution, with one third of its students on campus in Scotland being from outside of the UK.

Heriot Watt’s Dubai Campus has grown from strength to strength over the past three years, and is expected to reach over 2,000 students as the University’s reputation grows in the Middle East region as the University of choice for high quality UK education.


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