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Entrepreneurship and Sustainability leadership highlighted in the King’s Birthday Honours

The King’s Birthday Honours, announced at the end of last week, have recognised the hard work and commitment of two key University figures to drive forward innovation and environmental sustainability.

St Andrews Innovation’s Chief Executive Officer and The University’s Chief Operating Officer, Quaestor and Factor Derek Watson, will receive an MBE for Services to Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, while Geoff Morris, Director of Eden Campus, will receive an OBE for services to Charity and to the Environment.  

Derek Watson said: “I’m chuffed to bits to receive this award.  This is not something that I ever expected or strived for but I’m touched that others thought that the work we’re doing in St Andrews Innovation and at the Eden Campus to drive entrepreneurship, deserved recognition.

“It’s also really good to see the progress that we’ve made and the leadership that the University of St Andrews is demonstrating in sustainability is being noticed, whether it be our path to net zero, carbon sequestration through nature-based solutions, embracing biodiversity and improving our environment while becoming climate adapted.”

Derek added: “While this is a personal award that I’m very proud to receive, these are team pursuits and I’m really grateful for the great colleagues and supporters that we have, and the positive impact that we are having together.

Eden Campus Director Geoff Morris said: “I’ve had the good fortune to take on roles throughout my career that had the potential to make a difference – this has always been my motivation.  I guess my skill, if any, is that I actually like the challenge of a blank piece of paper.

“This honour represents the culmination of many such blank pages presented in the form of disparate projects spanning local government, international famine relief, disadvantaged children and mental health to more recent institutional anniversaries.  My work at St Andrews, helping to redevelop the Eden Campus, including supporting the University’s nature-based solutions to climate change, are more current examples of blank pages brought to life.

“I’ve always taken the view that you do well by doing good and to do good you need great teams around you. I can visualise many former and current colleagues trying to make sense of another of ‘Geoff’s ideas’. They brought and continue to bring to life what was in my head. This honour is shared with them. I’m proud, my wife and my family are proud, and I only wish my mother were alive to take the real credit.  She taught me about integrity, honesty and hard work.”