Director of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig honoured in the Queen's Honours List

Professor Norman Gillies, the director of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College on Skye, has been honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours List and awarded an OBE for his services to Education and Gaelic.

Professor Gillies is a native of the Isle of Skye and has been involved with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig since the advent of its full?time courses in 1983, firstly as College Secretary and, since 1987, as College Director. Under his directorship the College has successfully expanded its academic provision and related activities and is widely recognised today as the national and international centre of excellence for the study and interpretation of the Gaelic language and culture.

Professor Gillies serves on both the national and international committees of the Columba Initiative, an initiative set up following the visit of the President of Ireland to the College, on the 1400 anniversary of the death of St Columba, in 1997. This initiative explores areas of common interest between Gaelic Scotland and Ireland.

He has played a major role in the development of the UHI Millennium Institute (UHI), serving as a Deputy Director, and is a member of the UHI Forum, Foundation and the UHI Management Group. He also chairs the Academic Standards Committee and is a member of the UHI Executive Board..

Professor Gillies was a founding Director of Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise and currently serves on the boards of Cànan Ltd., the Gaelic Television Training Trust, Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, Lèirsinn Research Centre and BARAIL, the Centre for Highlands and Islands Policy Studies. He is a Member of the Institute of Management and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Dr Farquhar Macintosh, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, said: "In offering Norman my warm congratulations, I would like to say how much pleasure it gives me and, I am certain, all who are aware of his achievements, that his services have been publicly recognised. It is an award that is fully merited and will undoubtedly help to promote the College's growing reputation."

The remarkable progress of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has been marked by significant developments, including that of Àrainn Chaluim Chille, (the Saint Columba Campus), a major Millennium Commission project which was awarded the "Regeneration of Scotland" architectural award by the Royal Incorporation of Architects. More recently, the College has overseen the development of Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, (the new Columba Centre on the Isle of Islay) and is currently advancing its next phase, Fàs, the Centre for Creative and Cultural Industries.

The work of the College was recently recognised with the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education 2002, a prestigious national honour bestowed on only 20 institutions every two years.

Brian Wilson MP, former Minister for Gaelic who has a long association with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, said: "Norman Gillies's contribution to the development of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has been monumental. He has set standards of excellence in everything that the College has aspired to and usually achieved."