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Steve Thomson to become chair of University of the Highlands and Islands Court

10 October 2013

Issued by The University of the Highlands and Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands has appointed businessman and Highlands and Islands Enterprise board member, Steve Thomson as the chair of its reconstituted court.

A resident of Tiree since 2004, Mr Thomson sold his island-based business Concise Aerospace, an online market intelligence service, in 2012. Originally from Falkirk, he moved to Tiree with his wife and three children after falling in love with the island.

He will replace Professor Matthew MacIver CBE, former chair of the Gaelic development agency Bòrd na Gàidhlig and retired chief executive and registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, when he stands down later this year following the final approval of the reconstitution process by the Privy Council.

The reconstitution follows a review of the governance and management of the university and recognises the Scottish Government’s designation of the university as having regional responsibility for the provision of further education as well as higher education in its operating area.

“I believe that The University of the Highlands and Islands is a key component in the successful and sustainable development of the Highlands and Islands,” explained Steve Thomson, “and am therefore proud and excited to be associated with the challenge of building on the work of those who previously strived to achieve university status."

Steve Thomson has been an active contributor to island life in Tiree and involved in a number of community ventures including Tiree Community Broadband and Tiree Renewable Energy. He now feels that his professional background, together with his experience of community and regional organisations such as Highlands and Islands Enterprise, will enable him to make a positive contribution to the work of the university.

Professor Matthew MacIver CBE, the retiring chair of the court said: “I am delighted to welcome Steve Thomson as the next chair of the court of the University of the Highlands and Islands. He takes up his role at a most interesting and significant time in the university’s development.

“Our university has the potential to become one of the key transforming agencies in this very special part of Scotland. Steve brings with him an impressive global business experience, which will give him a breadth of perspective that will undoubtedly benefit the university. Just as important is his involvement for the last decade in the life of the Island of Tiree which will give him a knowledge and appreciation of the challenges for certain communities within the Highlands and Islands. I wish him and the new court every success in taking the university forward.”

The university principal and vice-chancellor, James Fraser, also retires at the end of December. Current deputy principal, Dr Crichton Lang, will become acting principal while the selection process for a new principal and vice-chancellor takes place. It is anticipated that the outcome will be announced in the spring.

Steve MacThòmais gu bhith na chathraiche air Cùirt Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean

Chuir Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean an neach-gnothachais agus ball de bhòrd Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean, Steve MacThòmais an dreuchd mar chathraiche a chùirt ùire.

Agus e a’ fuireach ann an Tiriodh bho 2004, reic Mgr MacThòmais an gnothachas aige, Concise Aerospace, seirbheis fiosrachadh margaide air-loidhne a bha stèidhte air an eilean, ann an 2012. Agus e às an Eaglais Bhric o thùs, ghluais e do Thiriodh le a bhean agus triùir chloinne às dèidh dha a dh’fhàs gu math dèidheil air an eilean.

Thig e an àite an Àrd-Ollamh Mata MacÌomhair CBE, a bha roimhe na chathraiche air buidheann leasachaidh na Gàidhlig, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, agus àrd-oifigear agus neach-clàraidh Comhairle Choitcheann Luchd-teagaisg na h-Alba, nuair a sheasas e sìos nas fhaide air adhart air a’ bhliadhna seo an dèidh aontachadh deireannach air a’ pròiseas ath-chumaidh leis a’ Chomhairle Dhìomhair.

Tha an t-ath-chumadh a’ tighinn an dèidh ath-bhreithneachadh air riaghladh agus stiùireadh an oilthigh agus e ag aithneachadh gun tug Riaghaltas na h-Alba uallach don oilthigh airson solarachadh foghlam adhartach cho math ri àrd-fhoghlaim san sgìre obrach aige.

“Tha mi a’ creidsinn gu bheil Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean na cho-phàirt chudromach ann an leasachadh soirbheachail agus seasmhach na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean,” ars Steve MacThòmais, “agus mar sin tha mi pròiseil agus toilichte a bhith ceangailte ris an dùbhlan a bhith a’ togail air obair na feadha a strì roimhe gus inbhe oilthigh fhaighinn.”

Chuir Steve gu mòr ri beatha an eilein ann an Tiriodh agus e an sàs ann an àireamh de ghnìomhachdan na coimhearsnachd leithid Bann-leathainn Coimhearsnachd Thiriodh agus Lùth Ath-nuadhachdail Thiriodh. Tha e a-nis a’ faireachdainn gu bheil an t-eòlas proifeiseanta aige, cho math ris an eòlas aige air buidhnean coimhearsnachd agus sgìreil leithid Iomairt na Gàidhealtachd ’s nan Eilean, a’ leigeil leis cuir ri obair an oilthigh gu mòr.

Thuirt an t-Àrd-Ollamh Mata MacÌomhair CBE, cathraiche cùirt an oilthigh a bhios a’ leigeil dheth a dhreuchd: “Tha mi air leth toilichte fàilte a chur air Steve MacThòmais agus e an ath chathraiche air cùirt Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean. Tha e a’ tighinn don obair seo aig àm inntinneach agus cudromach ann an leasachadh an oilthigh.

“Tha comas aig ar n-oilthigh a bhith am measg nam prìomh bhuidhnean atharrachaidh anns a’ phàirt chudromach seo de dh’Alba. Tha Steve a’ toirt leis eòlas barraichte air gnothachas cruinneil, a bheir dha farsaingeachd de thuigse a bhios gun teagamh na bhuannachd don oilthigh. Agus ceart cho cudromach chaidh e an sàs anns an deichead a chaidh seachad ann am beatha Thiriodh a bheir dha eòlas agus tuigse air na dùbhlain a th’ ann do chuid de choimhearsnachdan sa Ghàidhealtachd agus anns na h-Eileanan. Tha mi a’ guidhe gach soirbheas air agus air a’ chùirt ùir ann a bhith a’ toirt an oilthigh air adhart.”

Bidh prionnsapal agus iar-sheansalair an oilthigh, Seumas Friseal, cuideachd a’ leigeil dheth a dhreuchd aig deireadh na Dùbhlachd. Is e an t-Oll Crichton Lang, a tha an-dràsta na leas-phrionnsapal, a bhios prionnsapal an gnìomh fhad ’s a bhios am pròiseas taghaidh airson prionnsapal agus iar-sheansalair ùr a’ gabhail àite. Thathas an dùil gun tèid na thigeas a-mach às fhoillseachadh sa bhliadhna ùr.

Media contact

Alison Lochhead
University of the Highlands and Islands
Tel:  01463 279222
Email:  alison.lochhead@uhi.ac.uk
Website: www.uhi.ac.uk

About The University of the Highlands and Islands

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a partnership of thirteen further and higher education colleges, specialist colleges and research institutions, distributed throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

'S e com-pàirteachas de thrì-deug de cholaistean foghlaim adhartaich agus àrd-fhoghlaim, colaistean speisealta agus ionadan rannsachaidh a th’ ann an Oilthigh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean, is iad air an sgaoileadh air feadh na Gàidhealtachd agus nan Eilean. 


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