Former student graduates 20 years after finishing his degree celebrating his 50th birthday



Richard Macdonald has travelled the globe as a consultant using his skills from his degree – visiting 17 different countries. 

Now he is returning to Heriot-Watt University to pick up his scroll – two decades later!

The Edinburgh-born alumnus, who turned 50 in July, decided to try 50 new experiences before his 51st birthday – one of them was attending his graduation.

The software engineer, who now lives in Swindon and is married to his childhood sweetheart, spoke as hundreds of students graduate from the Edinburgh campus over three days.

He graduates today, after missing out first time round due to work commitments, on Tuesday, December 10, with a first-class honours in Master of Physics in Computational Physics.

Speaking of his achievement Richard said: “I never attended the graduation ceremony for my year as I had to move away for work.  It is one thing I have regretted and as I celebrated my 50th birthday this year, I wanted to 'officially' graduate.

“I moved to the south of England for work shortly before the ceremony and started a new job the week it was due to take place.  I didn't want to ask for time off the same week I just started but looking back realise that it would have been fine as the company and people were great.”

And graduating isn't the only wish on his list.  He wants to celebrate New Year in Times Square, try indoor skydiving, go glamping, complete a 50km hiking challenge, start his own YouTube channel and watch the 50 highest-rated IMDB movies he's never seen.

Richard said: “Meeting and working with people from different cultures was brilliant and is something more people should experience.

“I loved my time at Heriot-Watt and I consider gaining my degree to be one of my greatest personal achievements.  Unfortunately, I haven't used my degree directly - I've never worked in physics/science.  However, all of the study skills, logical/critical thinking, problem solving skills, etc, I gained continue to help me to this day.”

Edinburgh Graduations took place on Saturday, December 7, Monday, December 9 and Tuesday, December 10.

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Susan Kerr

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