OBE for Peebles farmer and head of SAC

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THE head of the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

SAC’s principal and chief executive Professor Bill McKelvey, who started his career as a vet in Peebles, has won the accolade for services to the agricultural industry.

He said: “I am very aware this honour mainly reflects the hard work of many other people at SAC. Throughout my career I have been privileged to work with a whole range of dedicated and committed colleagues. I owe them a great debt of gratitude.”

The son of an Ulster farmer, Professor McKelvey, his wife Anne and family farm at Kailzie in Peeblesshire. Professor McKelvey graduated as a vet from Glasgow with first-class honours before practising in Peebles and then going on to complete a PhD at Aberdeen University. He joined SAC’s veterinary investigation team in 1988 before progressing to manage SCA’s veterinary services, then the corporate operations group before being appointed CEO and principal in 2002. Recently he announced he will step down from the top role in January next year.

Professor McKelvey’s 10 years in charge has seen him reorganise the college to become Scotland’s newest higher education institution, delivering education, research and consultancy for farming and related industries.

Professor McKelvey said: “There were some major challenges and tough decisions in the last 10 years, but I believe SAC is now a truly customer-focused organisation and is in an excellent position to help both policymakers and rural communities face the challenges of the future. I regard this recognition as both a reward and a vote of confidence in SAC.”

Professor McKelvey was created an honorary fellow of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, in 1990 and elected Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Societies (FRAgS) in 1995. He was awarded an SAC professorship in veterinary reproduction in 1999, elected Fellow of the Society of Biology (FSB) in 2001 and created professor of agriculture at Glasgow University in 2002.

In March this year he also became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.