Rowling donated 10 million pounds ($16 million) to establish the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, named after her mother, who suffered from MS, The Independent reported. She received the University Benefactor's Award.
Princess Anne, newly appointed the university chancellor, presented the award.
She succeeds her father, Prince Philip, who became the university's honorary head in 1953.
"My relationship with the vet school has given me some insight into all of the marvelous work that the university undertakes," the horse-loving princess said in her first speech as chancellor.
About 30 students with a banner proclaiming the Party Against Privilege held a noisy protest nearby, The Daily Telegraph reported. The university has begun charging tuition to students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, although Scottish students do not have to pay.
One sign read: "If you can afford a princess, you can afford my degree."