Rector of the University of Dundee

Rector of the University of Dundee

The Rector of the University of Dundee is a member of the University Court at the University of Dundee in Scotland. The present holder of the position is Mr Craig Murray MA (Hons).

Aside from his official duties the Rector is charged with the responsibility of representing the students of the University who elect him for a three year term. The Rector is officially installed in a ceremony soon after his election by the University's Chancellor or, in his place, the Vice-Chancellor.

The position of Rector is given legal status under the Universities (Scotland) Act 1889 and in Dundee's case specifically, under Article 5 of its Royal Charter which states:

:"There shall be a Rector of the University who shall be elected by the matriculated students of the":"University in such manner and for such period as may be prescribed by the Statutes."

The position exists in common throughout the ancient universities of Scotland with Rectorships at the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St Andrews. Rectors also appoint a Rector's Assessor, who may carry out their functions when they are absent from the University. In many cases, such as the terms of Lorraine Kelly or Tony Slattery, the relevant Assessor carried out the majority of the Rector's functions - both were known for only very rarely attending court meetings in person.

Notable is the legend [ [ The Scotsman ] ] of unconfirmed certainty that a hamster was once nominated for the post. Its acceptance of the nomination was allegedly made with an ink-paw print, which was not permitted by the University on the grounds that true consent could not be assured and duress may have been involved.

Election and installation

Rectors are nominated by the gathering of fifty [s.4(4)(b) Statutes of the University of Dundee] signatures by students. Close to the Rectorial Election, the Students' Association traditionally hosts a hustings debate, known as the Hecklings, in which all nominees get a chance to put forward their case. The nominees also traditionally make an appearance on the university campus during the election day to canvass for last minute support, assisted by a campaign team of students. The election is organised by a member of the Senatus Academicus, usually the Academic Secretary.

If an election is tied between two candidates, then the Chancellor has the deciding vote on the matter [s.4(1), Ibid] . Neither staff members at Dundee nor students matriculated at any university are eligible to stand [s.4(2), Ibid.] The election is always held in either January or February if the election is not precipitated by a resignation during the Rector's term of office, and on a day appointed by the Senatus Academicus in consultation with the Students' Association. [s.4(5)(b), Ibid] .

The installation is usually held two or three months following the election. In the past the ceremony was held in the Caird Hall in the City Centre, however, recent ceremonies have been held in the University's own Bonar Hall - the last ceremony was expected to take place in the smaller Ustinov Room of the Bonar Hall, but had to be changed at the last minute to a lecture theatre in the new teaching block as a result of unexpected demand. The installation itself is made by the Chancellor (or Vice-Chancellor if unavailable) with the formal introduction of the Rector to the students being made by the President of the Students' Association. Following a meeting with the Lord Provost of Dundee, the Rector will be 'dragged' in the University's carriage from the City Chambers to the University by one of the sports teams in a parade, often stopping off at public houses along the way for refreshments.

Before 1967

Prior to 1967, the University of Dundee was an integral college of the University of St Andrews and styled as Queen's College Dundee or University College Dundee. While the college had a separate structure of governance, the Rector of the University exercised full authority over the entire institution. Therefore before its independence, the Rector of the University of St Andrews was Rector and the appropriate official for both the Dundee and St Andrews institutions.

Post independence

1968 - Sir Peter Ustinov

"Served two terms"

Installation: 16 October 1968

Sir Peter Ustinov - actor, writer, dramatist and raconteur. Ustinov was Dundee's first independent Rector and is remembered fondly at Dundee, his name having being given to a significant room in the University's Bonar Hall [ [ University of Dundee : External Relations : Press Office ] ] which houses a sculpture of him.

1974 - Sir Clement Freud

"Served two terms."

Installation: 25 October 1974

Sir Clement Freud - writer, broadcaster, Liberal politician and Member of Parliament.

Was later elected Rector of the University of St Andrews.

1980 - Lord Mackie of Benshie

George Mackie, Baron Mackie of Benshie [ [ Photograph of Lord Mackie of Benshie, Rector 1980 ] ] is a Liberal Democrat peer and former MP for Caithness and Sutherland.

1983 - Gordon Wilson MP

Gordon Wilson [ [ Photograph of Gordon Wilson M.P., for Dundee East and chairman of the Scottish National Party. Elected rector of Dundee ] ] was the Member of Parliament for Dundee East (1974 to 1987) and leader of the Scottish National Party at the time. Wilson was outspoken against government education cuts of the time.

1986 - Malcolm Bruce MP

Malcolm Bruce has been the Liberal Democrat MP for Gordon (1983-present), and was the President of the Liberal Club at the University of St Andrews. [ [ Liberal Democrats : People ] ]

1989 - Paul Henderson Scott

Paul Henderson Scott is a Scottish cultural and historical commentator and a veteran Scottish National Party member.

1992 - Stephen Fry

"Served two terms."

Installation: 29 October 1992; 1 November 1995

Stephen Fry - comedian, author, actor and filmmaker. His Rectorial Address was entitled "Think of a lobster" and urged students to delay obsession with the mundane. In standing for election, he apparently declined a similar offer of nomination (made before Dundee's) from the students of St Andrews University.

He is fondly remembered by the University, with the main bar in the Students' Association building named after his novel "The Liar" and is often considered one of Dundee's best Rectors.

1998 - Tony Slattery

Tony Slattery - actor and comedian. He was installed as Rector shortly after the death of his father and following a well publicised period of mental health problems, which went on to challenge his Rectorship. He found some of the demands of public events difficult to handle and eventually stopped attending the University Court meetings.

The tabloids famously carried a story about him crashing his car whilst under the influence of drugs. His explanation, to a room full of students in the Tav Bar, revolved around a cat and some chemical fumes. This led to calls for his resignation.

He appointed Jason Wassell as Rectors Assessor who, in Tony's absence from Dundee, became his spokesperson on a number of University issues.

[ [ The Scotsman ] ]

2001 - Fred MacAulay

Fred MacAulay - Scottish comedian and graduate (accountancy) of the university.

Stood against television presenter Richard Whiteley, Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament Nick Johnston and Stirling University lecturer Dr Abd-al-El-Awaisi. David Hasselhoff was forced to decline his nomination as he could only commit to visiting the university once a year [ [ BBC News | SCOTLAND | Baywatch star sinks student hopes ] ] Fred was a popular, positive and supportive rector who has continued to take a personal interest in the university.

2004 - Lorraine Kelly

Election: 27 February 2004
Installation: 28 April 2004

Lorraine Kelly - East Kilbride - born television presenter. Beat Lesley Riddoch and David Shayler to the post. [ [ University of Dundee : External Relations : Press Office ] ] Her Rectorial Address can be found [ here] .

2007 - Craig Murray

Election: 16 February 2007
Installation: 26 September 2007 [ [ Craig Murray - Dundee University - neither Green nor Caring ] ]

Craig Murray - former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, graduate of the university and twice President of the Students' Association at Dundee. He resigned over differences with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office relating to the use of torture and extraordinary rendition in Uzbekistan. Murray was elected by students on 16 February 2007 by a vote of 632 to 582, beating competition from former Scotland rugby captain and British Lions star Andy Nicol.

The Rectorial Installation of Craig Murray took place on the 26 September 2007 in the new Heathfield teaching building. In his Address, the new Rector discussed the structure of education in Scotland, creating a university environment better adapted to the needs of undergraduates and the status of ancient university government, including a commitment to campaign for the incorporation of the position of Rector at all universities in Scotland. [ [ The Courier: Taking you to the heart of Tayside and Fife ] ]


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