"Donald was a dedicated journalism professional who committed to his role with integrity and passion," said RGU's Principal & Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve Olivier. "His contributions towards our University, particularly in our journalism programmes, were significantly appreciated.
"The advice and lessons he provided to our students and those making their first steps in journalism will be invaluable. This award is a fitting tribute to a man who did not fail to inspire everyone around him."
Donald received the posthumous Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) award for his contribution to broadcast media and the journalism profession and his dedication to supporting young people and their personal development through his many years of work with RGU.
Stephen Christie, Donald's nephew, accepted the award. He said: "Receiving this award on behalf of my uncle Donald John is a huge honour for the family. He would have been absolutely delighted to be recognised by RGU in this way.
"He was a huge advocate for the University and he was a huge advocate for young people in general. His legacy will be well remembered through this award."
He was born on South Uist on January 3, 1960. Donald was known as the 'granite anchor' of news and current affairs coverage in the North-East of Scotland for 36 years. He started his career as a seminarian at St. Mary's College, Blairs, in Aberdeen from 1974-77 and completed his studies at the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway, in 1978 before going on to the University of Aberdeen where he graduated with an Honours Degree in Political Studies.
Donald would then join Grampian Television as a reporter in 1984, serving the most extensive geographical territory in the Channel Three Network.
When Grampian became the subject of a merger with Scottish Media Group, owners of STV, in June of 1997, Donald moved to produce the news - and later became the Editor of News Programmes for STV North. He always ensured sound judgement was applied along with a calm manner to the newsroom and was persistent in pursuing stories of editorial value.
In 2020, Donald was promoted to an expanded role within the broader STV News Management Team, mentoring talent from across the newsroom, something he was passionate about and had been excited to progress in 2021.
As a mentor, Donald was passionate about guiding the next cohorts of journalists and worked at RGU supporting students to reach their potential. He would employ RGU graduates, support work placements, consult and shape the journalism programme, provide case studies and projects, and share colourful stories of his life as a journalist with our students. His loss has been felt across the University and the industry.
Donald John MacDonald's nephew, Stephen Christie, pictured alongside fellow family members.