Princess Anne presents honours to St Andrews staff

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Four members of staff from the University of St Andrews received their honours from the Princess Royal in Edinburgh today (Wednesday 18 January).

Queen Elizabeth II named Dr Maggie Ellis MBE, Dr Isobel Falconer MBE, Claire Lavelle MBE and Stephen Stewart MBE in her Honours lists last year, and today her daughter, Princess Anne, presented the awards at a ceremony in the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Dr Maggie Ellis, of the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, received the MBE for her dedication to improving the lives of people with dementia.

Dr Ellis’s research concentrates on helping people living with advanced dementia to communicate. Developed with her collaborator, Professor Arlene Astell of the University of Reading, ‘Adaptive Interaction’ focuses on developing meaningful ways to communicate with those who have lost speech.

Dr Ellis set up Dementia Friendly St Andrews in 2016 with an emphasis on taking research into practical use to provide help to those living with dementia. Key aims were to raise awareness, provide training, raise funds, and provide activities for those with dementia and their families. This work was conducted and further developed in collaboration with students, local activists, and Dementia Friendly Fife.

Dr Isobel Falconer, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, was awarded the MBE for services to the history of mathematics and science.

Dr Falconer is a leading maths historian whose research focuses on the relationship between maths and physics in the 17th and 19th centuries. Dr Falconer’s work aims to overcome gender and ethnic stereotypes, highlighting often overlooked figures from the world of mathematics and science.

Among her contributions, Dr Falconer has helped modernise the University of St Andrews’ MacTutor History of Mathematics archive and put it on a sustainable footing. MacTutor is a free online resource containing biographies of more than 3000 mathematicians and over 2000 pages of essays and supporting materials. With more than two million hits per week from users based in 180 countries, the archive is considered one of the most authoritative mathematics resources available worldwide.

Claire Lavelle, Student Services Assistant Director (Wellbeing and International), was honoured with an MBE for her services to early years education.

Claire joined the University in March 2022 and her award is in respect of her work with The Hive of Wellbeing, a project that supports wellbeing amongst teachers, Early Year Practitioners, support staff, school leaders and school communities

A professional coach with more than 25 years’ experience in education, Claire has previously worked as a teacher, a principal teacher, a primary head teacher in Scotland and abroad, and a quality improvement officer in a Scottish local authority.

Stephen Stewart, Director of Saints Sport, the University’s Department of Sport and Exercise, received the MBE for services to sport.

A champion of inclusivity in sport, Stephen is a pioneer of using the power of sport, volunteering and education to support disadvantaged communities. He began his career as a Leisure Centre Manager in Northern Ireland in 1992, progressing to Deputy Director of Sport at Loughborough University from 1998 to 2008, before coming to St Andrews as Director of Sport in 2008.

He is a founder of the Wallace Group, a collaboration of seven universities in the UK with a shared interest in promoting sports and health workshops in developing countries.

Stephen is closely involved in the Volunteer Zambia project, a Wallace Group initiative which supports partnership between Sport In Action and Zambia’s National Sports Federations and Sports Associations to develop a network of Community Sport Hubs in Africa. Student volunteers from the UK work with community leaders in Zambia to establish sustainable programmes that widen the impact of sport, but also provide pathways for young Zambians to enrich their lives through participation, leadership and education.

He has worked with UK Sport, the Zambian Minister for Sport, the British High Commissioner in Zambia, and the Zambian First Family to transform the life chances of thousands of Zambian youngsters through the power of sport and education.

Professor Ailsa Hall, Emeritus Professor of Biology and former director of the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) received an OBE in the 2022 Honours list for her decades of work in environmental protection and epidemiology, while Professor Anne Magurran, Professor of Ecology and Evolution in the Centre for Biological Diversity and the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI), received a CBE for services to biodiversity. Both professors received their awards in a separate ceremony last year.

Meanwhile, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE, who was made a DBE last year, will be invested at a later date.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

Category University news

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