RSE Awards Bicentenary Medals for Distinguished Service

RSE Awards Bicentenary Medals for Distinguished Service

For Immediate Release - 2 July 2004

The outstanding service of three individuals will be recognised in Dundee this evening, Friday 2 July when The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) awards three of its Fellows with its Bicentenary Medal. Professor John Beck, Professor John Laver and The Rt Hon Lord Ross will be presented with this prestigious award for distinguished service by the RSE President, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood during a reception to be held at The University of Dundee. Nearly 150 RSE Fellows and guests will be present at the Summer Reception which is being held during the University of Dundee’s graduation celebrations.

The President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, KT, FBA, FRSE said:

One of the RSE’s roles as a National Academy is that of recognising excellence. On July 2 we shall do just that in seeking to show our appreciation to three individuals who have excelled in their own disciplines and made an enormous contribution to the life and the development of the Society. Professor John Beck, Professor John Laver and Lord Ross have played key roles in recent years as the RSE has positioned itself to be of greater benefit to the wider community in post-devolution Scotland. All are most worthy recipients of the Society’s Bicentenary Medal. It is fitting that this occasion will be held in the alumnae atmosphere of The University of Dundee where two and a half thousand Graduates celebrate reaching this great milestone in their lives. My sincere thanks to Sir Alan Langlands and all his staff for their very fine arrangements and warm hospitality.

University of Dundee, Principal and Vice Chancellor, Sir Alan Langlands, FRSE said:

The University of Dundee is honoured that The Royal Society of Edinburgh has chosen to hold its Summer Reception during our graduation celebratons. This year the University is graduating more than 2,500 students – its largest ever graduation reflecting the increasing success of the University in attracting students from all over the world.

The Bicentenary Medallists ~ Biographical Information

Professor John Beck FRSE

John Beck was born in Glasgow and educated at the University of Glasgow. He rose from junior posts in Pathology in the city’s hospitals between 1953 and 1958 to become a Lecturer in Pathology at the University of Glasgow, 1958-1963. John Beck was Senior Lecturer in Pathology at the University of Aberdeen 1963-1971 and Professor of Pathology, the University of Dundee & Clinical Director of Pathology, Ninewells Hospital 1971-1993. After this he became Foundation Dean and Chief Executive Officer of the International Medical College in Malaysia, where he had a transforming effect on the standards and development of medical education in that country. He has contributed over 300 papers in referred scientific and medical journals and periodicals, has undertaken much public service on influential boards and committees.

Professor John Beck is a distinguished pathologist of international repute, however, it is for his distinguished service to The Royal Society of Edinburgh that he is to be awarded the RSE’s Bicentenary Medal. As RSE Programme Convener from 1998-2003 Professor Beck was boundlessly energetic and enthusiastic, successfully advancing the Society’s range of high calibre events. Professor Beck has also been one of the most regular-attenders of Society business, despite the considerable distance he has to travel between Angus and Edinburgh.

Professor John Laver CBE, FBA, FRSE

John Laver was born in Nowshera, India. He was a Lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria from 1963 before taking up the post of Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in 1966, where he held a range of distinguished positions including: Senior Lecturer (1976-80); Reader in Phonetics (1980-1985); Director, Centre for Speech Technology Research (1984-89) and Chairman (1989-94); Personal Chair in Phonetics (1985); Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts (Postgraduate Studies) (1989-1992); Senatus Assessor on the University Court (1991-94); Chairman of the Senatus Postgraduate Studies Committee (1993-96).

As Vice-Principal (Research) Professor Laver did much to contribute to The University of Edinburgh’s reputation. Regarded as one of the most distinguished living phoneticians in the United Kingdom, John Laver has a very considerable international reputation and has served in prominent positions including President of International Phonetic Association (1991-1995). Professor Laver has authored and edited many publications and is a Fellow of the British Academy. He was appointed CBE in 1999 for services to phonetics, and for his role as founding Chairman (1994-98) of the British Academy’s Humanities Research Board, the predecessor of the Arts and Humanities Research Board, soon to be the Arts and Humanities Research Council. He is currently Deputy Principal of Queen Margaret University College.

It is for Professor John Laver’s distinguished service to The Royal Society of Edinburgh, however, that he is to be awarded the RSE’s Bicentenary Medal. John Laver served as Vice-President of the RSE from 1996-1999 and began the Society’s very successful International Committee. He then served for a further three years as a most committed and effective Fellowship Secretary. Professor Laver not only devoted a great deal of time and expertise to Fellowship matters, but also played a key role in producing our first comprehensive Corporate Plan.

The Rt Hon Lord Ross PC, FRSE

Donald MacArthur Ross was born in Dundee and educated at Dundee High School and Edinburgh University. Lord Ross passed advocate and became a QC in 1964. He was Sheriff Principal of Ayr and Bute (1973-76) and was made a Senator of the College of Justice in 1977. From 1985-1997, he was Lord Justice Clerk of Scotland. He has served as a member and chairman of the Court of Heriot Watt University, as Deputy Chairman of the Boundary Commission for Scotland (1977-85) and a Council Member of the National Trust for Scotland from 1982. Donald Ross was Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Advocates (1967-73) and as Dean (1973-76) exercised great and beneficial influence on the administration of and education for the legal profession of Scotland. 990-1991, he was Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and since 1997 has been Chairman of the Judicial Studies Committee for Scotland. He became a Privy Counsellor in 1985.

It is for Lord Ross’s distinguished service to The Royal Society of Edinburgh, however, that he is to be awarded the RSE’s Bicentenary Medal. He was elected fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1988, served on Council from 1997- 2002 and was Vice-President from 1999. He also chaired the Society’s influential Inquiry into Mediation and Health, and the fundraising committee which planned the highly successful first phase of the Society’s campaign.

Notes for Editors

The Bicentenary Medal

The RSE Bicentenary Medal was first awarded by Her Majesty The Queen when she visited the Society in 1983 to celebrate the bicentenary of the Royal Charter being granted. It is presented for distinguished service to the Society.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) is Scotland’s National Academy of Science & Letters. A wholly independent, non party-political body with charitable status, the RSE is a knowledge resource for the people of Scotland. Organising conferences and lectures both for the specialist and for the general public, the RSE is a forum for informed debate on issues of national and international importance. The Society draws upon the expertise of its multidisciplinary fellowship of approximately 1300 peer-elected men and women of international standing, to provide independent, expert advice to key decision making bodies, including Government and Parliament. Strengthening links between academia and industry and boosting wealth-generation at home, the Society’s Research Awards programme annually awards well over one and a half million pounds to exceptionally talented young academics and potential entrepreneurs. Today, operating a successful programme of inspiring lectures and hands-on workshops for primary and secondary school pupils, the RSE is also active in classrooms from the Borders to the Northern Isles. The multidisciplinary membership of the RSE makes it unique amongst learned Societies in Great Britain. Its peer-elected fellowship encompasses excellence in the Sciences, Arts, Humanities, the Professions, Industry and Commerce. Born out of the intellectual ferment of the Scottish Enlightenment, the RSE was founded in 1783 by Royal charter for the "advancement of learning and useful knowledge". A progressive Scottish Society, working as part of the UK and within a global context, the Royal Society of Edinburgh is committed to the future of Scotland’s social, economic and cultural well-being. The RSE is Scottish Charity No. SC000470


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