Peter and Joy Wilson

Wilson scholarship is a fitting legacy marking years of service to Heriot-Watt 

Honorary graduates, Peter Wilson and his wife Joy are long-standing supporters of Heriot-Watt University with years of dedicated service and generous donations to the annual fund.

In 2004, the couple - inspired by meeting former wheelchair racer, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson at her honorary degree award ceremony - established the Wilson Scholarship to encourage non-able bodied students at Heriot-Watt to achieve new levels of sporting ability.

The Wilson Scholarship now enables non-able bodied undergraduates in their first year of study at Heriot-Watt to take part in the University's world-class sports programmes. Focusing on achievement, the scholarship enhances students' sport and fitness abilities at a recreational or performance level and boosts the confidence of recipients by supporting a seamless transition to university life. The impact of the Wilson Scholarship on individual recipients has been nothing short of life changing.

The Wilson’s have been connected to Heriot-Watt for the last three decades. Peter served for 20 years as the University Secretary and Head of Administration, retiring in 2010. Born in Douglas, Lanarkshire, Peter studied Mathematics and Chemistry at the University of Glasgow and, after teacher training, returned to his old school, Lanark Grammar, to teach mathematics. In 1967, he joined the Royal Navy, serving as an Instructor Officer before joining the Royal Army Educational Corps where, over 20 years of distinguished service, he rose to the rank of Colonel. In Germany, Peter had responsibilities for extra-mural education and German language training for the British Army on the Rhine. And as Commander Education for the 1st Armoured Division he provided a full education service to more than 12,000 troops and their dependants.

Working in administration, responsible for personnel selection and training, Peter redesigned the procedures used to test, interview and allocate jobs to new recruits entering the Army. Then as Head of Army Resettlement he was responsible for advisory services and training courses to assist those leaving the Service. He brought his international experience on both education and administration to Heriot-Watt when he was appointed as Secretary to the University in December 1990.

Peter played a major role in the development of Heriot-Watt as Scotland’s international university, including our highly successful collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University and strengthening longstanding links with Norway. He was a leading contributor towards the establishment of Heriot-Watt’s Dubai Campus, which currently to provides higher education to almost 2,000 students, and the planning and management of the Sports Village construction project on the Riccarton campus.

Peter and his wife Joy – whose own contribution to the University as a cherished representative was recognised with an Honorary degree - have both been the friendly face of the University at a huge range of external events including social, religious, diplomatic, cultural, political and musical.

And it is fitting that the Wilson Scholarship now provides a lasting legacy from Peter and Joy’s much appreciated contribution and positive impact upon the life of Heriot-Watt University. 

20 July 2017