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Gardening expert Monty Don and writer Rona Munro to receive honorary degrees from the University of Stirling


Gardening expert and broadcaster Monty Don OBE and writer Rona Munro will receive Honorary Doctorates from the University of Stirling next week. 


Monty and Rona will be celebrated at Stirling’s winter graduation ceremonies, which take place on November 23 and 24. 


Broadcaster, writer and celebrity gardener Monty is being recognised for his outstanding contribution to horticulture, broadcasting and charity. 


Born Montagu Don in West Berlin, he is the great nephew of Scottish botanist George Don. Both of his paternal grandparents were Scottish. 


Monty, whose television and writing work has been prolific, has had a lifelong passion for gardening, although no formal training. A keen proponent of organic gardening and sustainable beekeeping, Monty has spoken out about the therapeutic benefits of gardening for mental and physical health. He has written of his own struggle with depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder. 


Monty has hosted a range of programmes across the BBC and Channel 4, including Channel 4’s Real Gardens and Fork to Fork and, for the BBC, programmes including Monty Don’s Japanese Gardens, Paradise Gardens and Italian Gardens, Around the World in 80 Gardens, and Chelsea Flower Show. He has hosted BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World for the best part of two decades. Writing credits include The Observer, Daily Mail and BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. He is also the author of more than 20 books.  


Monty has been affiliated with a number of charities and organisations, including the Bees for Development Trust, the Soil Association and Farms for City Children. In 2018, he was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). 


Scottish writer Rona Munro, who is being recognised for her outstanding contribution to Scottish literature and drama, has enjoyed a 40-year career writing extensively for stage, radio, television and film, to enormous critical acclaim and with multiple award wins. 


Born in Aberdeen, Rona wrote and acted for the stage during her teenage years. Her first play was staged at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre just a year after she graduated from the University of Edinburgh. She went on to write extensively for the stage and radio. 


Amongst her most notable works are The James Plays, five plays in an ongoing cycle covering the reigns of the Stewart kings and queens of Scotland. Her theatre awards include the John Whiting Award for Iron; the Peggy Ramsay Memorial Award for The Maiden Stone; and the Evening Standard Award, Critics’ Circle Award and Susan Smith Blackburn Award for Bold Girls. 


Rona’s film and television work includes the Ken Loach film Ladybird, Ladybird and the television series Doctor Who. With actress Fiona Knowles, she is one half of the MsFits, Scotland’s longest running small scale touring theatre company presenting feminist comedy drama. 

The honorary graduands will celebrate alongside more than 1,000 University of Stirling students, and their family and friends, over two days of ceremonies on the Stirling campus. 


Professor Sir Gerry McCormac, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Stirling, said: “Monty Don and Rona Munro are truly inspiring in their fields, which intersect film, media, creative writing, the environment and history. All of these are popular subjects of study and research at the University of Stirling. Monty and Rona also share Stirling’s purpose of making a real difference to the world in their respective fields. They are excellent role models for the students about to graduate with them.” 


Three ceremonies will take place on 23 and 24 November and are the last in the 2023 series of graduations, following the spring and summer events earlier in the year. For more information, please visit the University’s graduation webpages.

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