Media Release: Susan Boyle receives honorary degree from RCS


THE ROYAL Conservatoire of Scotland awarded two honorary degrees at its annual graduation day celebrations on June 30 2015.

Honorary degrees were awarded to singer, Susan Boyle, and academic, Professor Celia Duffy.

Susan Boyle – awarded Honorary Doctorate of Music for her distinction in the field of music

IN 2009, Susan Boyle stepped onto the Britain’s Got Talent stage and surprised the world.

Susan’s performance turned out to be a watershed moment neither she nor anyone involved in the show could have possibly foreseen.

Her list of awards, achievements and musical records is something most can only dream of including having 650 million YouTube hits, two Grammy nominations, three Guinness world records, over 22 million albums sold and no.1 albums in 40+ countries.

Performing to half a billion people on the final of China’s Got Talent, headline grabbing-performances on the biggest TV shows around the globe, Susan has sung for the Pope, the Queen and smashed music records held by The Beatles that had remained unchanged since the 1960’s.

She also achieved two simultaneous number one albums in the US and the UK in 12 months, and in 2011 she became the first female artist in 65 years of the UK charts to have three albums go straight to No.1 in succession.

Professor Celia Duffy – awarded Honorary Doctor of the Conservatoire for her outstanding service to the arts and to culture

PROFESSOR Duffy joined the Conservatoire (then the RSAMD) in 1999 as the first head of research and led the team responsible for development of research, consultancy and knowledge exchange activities and its new practice-based research programmes.

She led the early consultancy work of the Conservatoire which gained a high profile in the education policy area with the influential Scottish Youth Music Audit in 2003 resulting in the national Youth Music Initiative.

As a member of the senior management team, she held institutional responsibilities for Research and Knowledge Exchange and Information Services (Library and IT).

In 2009, she was internally seconded to the Conservatoire’s flagship curriculum reform, an ambitious project that re-defined the contemporary conservatoire learning experience and re-positioned the Conservatoire’s offering.

She was awarded a Professorship in 2010.

Celia now works freelance and loves being a teacher again. As a result of being married to a former Outward Bound instructor, Celia’s work/life balance has meant crossing the Atlantic in a small boat and doing the odd Himalayan peak.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the RCS, said: ”I am delighted that the RCS has conferred these honorary degrees upon these two individuals who have made considerable contributions in their respective fields.

“Our ceremony today was about breaking down barriers between art and its people.

“If we are the story tellers, we need to discover ways to share those stories widely – our honorary degree recipient’s personal story of triumph over adversity, plus talent and hard work demonstrates the connection to people strongly.

“As a conservatoire we celebrate openness and as a city and country we have many qualities that should be shared with the wider world.

“Today, at our graduation ceremonies we celebrate successes and achievements right across the arts.

“That is as it should be. For, as Scotland’s Conservatoire – and being of Scotland and her values – I believe it’s vital we at RCS celebrate the performing arts in all its forms and reflect our values of excellence, equality of opportunity and equality of access in everything we do.”

For more information please contact

Notes to editors

Other recipients of Royal Conservatoire of Scotland honorary degrees include singer Annie Lennox, actor and comedian Billy Connolly, actress Tilda Swinton, opera singer Dame Felicity Lott, actress Geraldine McEwan and stage and screen actor Timothy West CBE.

Pic: RCS/KKDundas.

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RCS contact details…

Contact: Katie Bell
Phone: 0141 270 8387