Legendary Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe-Major Richard Parkes can add “doctor” to his long list of accolades, after Queen’s University Belfast announced its 2019 list of honourary degrees “to individuals who have achieved high distinction or given significant service in one or more fields of public or professional life, and who serve as ambassadors for the University and Northern Ireland around the world.”
“I am honoured and humbled to receive an Honourary Doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast,” Parkes said. “This is the first time that someone from the pipe band world is being recognized within academia in Northern Ireland for services to music. I hope that this may lead on to more opportunities for a wider spotlight to be shone on Northern Ireland’s wealth of talent in this musical genre.”
Last year Parkes chalked up his twelfth World Pipe Band Championship, to go with his more than 80 separate Grade 1 RSPBA major championship titles gained over his more than 30 years as the leader of Field Marshal Montgomery.
Other recipients of the Queen’s University Belfast honour this year are 17 world leaders in academia, business, journalism, and sport. Parkes’s specific honourary degree is “DLit (Mus) for services to music.”
Richard Parkes was made a Member of the British Empire in the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours for “services to pipe band music in Northern Ireland.”
After being made an MBE, Parkes added eight World Championships and more than 50 majors to his extensive list of accomplishments, making him the most successful pipe-major in pipe band history by number of championships won.
Parkes will receive his honourary doctorate at a ceremony at Queen’s Univesity Belfast on July 1, 2019.
Queen’s University Belfast is considered the preeminent university in Northern Ireland, and in 2018 was ranked 32 out of the 93 universities in the UK, in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
In 2013, Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, presented Terry Lee and Jack Lee with honourary PhDs in recognition of their services to piping and drumming.