MUSICIAN Edwyn Collins and Kelpies creator Andy Scott are being honoured at an Open University degree ceremony in Edinburgh.
Writer Ruth Wishart and Maria Macnamara, founder of the charity Smalls for All, will also receive awards along with hundreds of new OU graduates at the Usher Hall.
Almost three quarters of OU students are in work, a fifth have declared a disability and a similar proportion do not have traditional entrance qualifications.
Many also look after family or have other caring commitments.
Musician, producer and Orange Juice founder Edwyn Collins is adding Doctor of the University to his musical honours.
He said: “I’m amazed and grateful to The Open University for this honour.
“For someone whom my son calls a ‘college drop-out’, it’s quite something. I chose a different path, one of the self-taught, and was lucky.
“The OU gives everyone the possibility of a second chance, the possibility to change your life. And I’ve learnt how vital to a human being that can be.”
Ruth Wishart, Andy Scott and Maria Macnamara are also receiving honorary doctorates.
Ms Macnamara is chief executive and founder of Smalls for All, a Scottish charity which collects and distributes underwear to help women and children in Africa.
She said: “The work that The Open University and Smalls for All do in Africa demonstrates a shared commitment to tackling poverty and inequality, improving health and well-being and most importantly, access to education.
“Both organisations seek to make a real and lasting difference to poor communities across Africa and I look forward to developing our shared interests and aspirations.”
Sculptor Andy Scott said: “I specialise in making art for the widest audience which incorporates research as well as artistic skill, so it’s very rewarding to be recognised by an institution which shares the same broad values of accessibility and intellectual rigour.
“It’s particularly valuable on a personal level as my father studied with the Open University but sadly circumstances overtook him and he never got to complete the course. I like to think he’d be very proud of this award.”
Ruth Wishart said: “Having gone into journalism straight from school – when most of my friends went to university – the lack of a degree was always a regret.
“Then, in my 50s, I took the plunge and signed up to an OU humanities course. Getting that degree, having that second chance, was absolutely wonderful.
“Being honoured subsequently by my alma mater with this Doctorate is a source of enormous pride”.
Susan Stewart, director of The OU in Scotland, said: “The commitment of our students is truly inspirational, juggling study with work, family and all sorts of other responsibilities, making their academic achievements even more impressive.
“The flexibility of part-time study with The Open University means that higher education is an option no matter what someone has going on in their life, helping to widen access to university, enabling people to learn while they earn, and developing the skills and knowledge Scottish employers need.”
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