A Forres man who made a difference to the lives of students with disabilities throughout the Highlands and Islands and his native Moray has been presented with a prestigious award.
Mark Ross, 28, was given a Vide-Chancellor’s Medal by the University of the Highlands and Islands in recognition of his “outstanding contributions to the mission of the university”.
Mark started out as a student at the university in 2004, undertaking a BA in social sciences through Moray College UHI.
Once he graduated, he took up a post of disability support coordinator with the university, hoping his personal experience would help him to understand and support the needs of others.
The medal awarded to Mark recognises his working in helping the university become an accredited Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) assessment centre. Previously students from the Highlands and Islands wishing to claim the allowance would typically have to travel to Dundee or Motherwell for assessment.
Mark also led the development of a dyslexia sticker scheme which means students with dyslexia receive a standardised level of support from the university.
Mark was presented with his medal this week when he attended the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood House on behalf of the university.
Speaking about his award Mark said: “I feel immensely proud and privileged to be able to contribute positively to the experience of students throughout the university region and to have been given the honour of representing the university at the Garden Party.
“For me, my medal recognises the exceptional efforts of every student, needs assessor and other member of staff involved with our DSA accreditation.”
Dr Iain Morrison, the university’s dean of students and Mark’s former line manager, believes Mark’s award is thoroughly deserved.
He explained: “Mark epitomises the positive impact this university can have on the experience of people in our region: through hard work and intelligence, he continues to enhance the ways we support some of our most vulnerable students.”
Professor Clive Mulholland, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor, added: “Ensuring every student is supported to succeed must be at the heart of what we do.
“Developments like becoming an accredited DSA assessment centre are vital to this mission so I would like to thank Mark for his sterling work and congratulate him on this award.”