SAMS news room

Brexit minister is SAMS UHI graduation speaker

Michael Russell, Argyll and Bute MSP speaking in the Scottish Parliament
Michael Russell, Argyll and Bute MSP speaking in the Scottish Parliament

Scotland’s Brexit minister will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) UHI graduation ceremony.

Michael Russell, a former Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Education, is no stranger to SAMS in his roles as local MSP and as Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe. He has served Argyll and Bute as MSP for the past six years.

Mr Russell will deliver his speech to undergraduate and postgraduate students and their families, as well as SAMS staff, executive and council members, at the ceremony in Oban’s Argyllshire Gathering Halls on September 8.

Mr Russell said: “I am honoured to be asked to speak at an event which forms such a huge part of any academic institution’s life. It is very heartening for me, as the local MSP, to see SAMS growing so significantly with over 100 undergraduate and over 60 postgraduate students, which is a huge step forward from even 10 years ago.  

“The new teaching accommodation and the development of such a strong teaching and research staff and portfolio augurs well for the future of every student as they graduate and move out into further study or work in key areas of our vital marine economy and environment.”

The ceremony will celebrate the achievements of graduands from the BSc Marine Science degree and honours degree levels, as well as Masters and PhD students.

Shona Magill, Head of Student Services at SAMS UHI, said: “We are delighted that a prominent politician such as Mr Russell has agreed to join us at our graduation, a very special day of celebration for us and our students. There is much political uncertainty across the UK at the moment, with huge political and constitutional change on the horizon. Whether the futures of our graduates lie in research, teaching or industry, they will in some way be helping to shape this new landscape and I believe they have been given the best possible start at SAMS UHI.”

Applications are still being taken for a place on this year’s marine science degree course. For more information, or to apply, see

SAMS UHI followed two students, Sam and Dan, during their final year in Oban. To see a short video of their graduation experience, click here.