Joyce Cullen, former chairman of legal firm Brodies, is one of three University of Dundee graduates who will be recognised as outstanding alumni at the university's graduation ceremonies this month.

Along with children’s author Pamela Butchart – who also teaches philosophy at the university – and Dr Niall Elliott, Team GB’s chief medical officer at the most recent winter and summer Olympics, Ms Cullen will be given an honorary degree in Dundee's Caird Hall, alongside hundreds of new graduates.

Since graduating in Law from the University in 1979, Ms Cullen established a reputation as a leading litigator, becoming partner and head of employment law at Brodies and serving as chairman from 2004 to 2013. She recently successfully defended Pauline Cafferkey, the nurse who contracted ebola during the epidemic in west Africa, in disciplinary proceedings alleging that she had concealed her infection.

Nominated by the Scottish ministers, she served as a member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland for two terms, from 1998 to 2006, representing the public interest. She was recently appointed as a non-executive member of the joint management board of the Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate General in Scotland. She is also a governor of The New School, Butterstone, which aims to help young people who find mainstream education difficult to access, and chair in Scotland of the Two Percent Club, which addresses the issue of underrepresentation of women at the top of corporate UK.

“In choosing our honorary graduands we look for people who are inspiring to our students and staff, and I am particularly delighted that we are honouring three of our own alumni, who have shown where a degree from Dundee can take you”, commented Professor Sir Pete Downes, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University.

“They have shown excellence and achievement in abundance and in completely different areas – literature, law and medicine. They illustrate the tremendous impact our own graduates are having in the world.”

Ms Cullen will receive her degree during the afternoon ceremony on Thursday 17 November.