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Tributes paid following death of Nottingham's former Vice-Chancellor

Colin Campbell

Tributes have been paid following the death of Professor Sir Colin Campbell, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham.

Sir Colin passed away peacefully on Friday 20 May at the age of 77.

In 1988 he made history as the country’s youngest Vice-Chancellor when, then aged 43, he took up the role at Nottingham. He was then the university’s fifth Vice-Chancellor and served until 2008.

Sir Colin played a key role in the commissioning of the Jubilee Campus expansion scheme and was instrumental in raising Nottingham’s profile internationally – overseeing the opening of campuses in China and Malaysia, and attracting more overseas students than any other university in the country.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West said: “From the award-winning Jubilee Campus to the pioneering University of Nottingham Ningbo, the first Sino-foreign University in China, he had a vision to grow the university not just through infrastructure, but through student numbers, reputation and by forging new links.

“He was a formidable man and will always be remembered. We offer our deepest condolences to his family at this sad time.”

Dr Paul Greatrix, Registrar at the University of Nottingham, said: “Working alongside Sir Colin it was clear he was ambitious about raising our profile globally and ensuring Nottingham was in what he called the ‘premier division’ of universities.

“So much of the university we know today would not be here without his influence.”

Sir Colin was born on 26 December 1944. He graduated with first class honours in law from the University of Aberdeen. He subsequently held appointments at the University of Dundee and the University of Edinburgh before becoming Professor of Jurisprudence at the Queen's University, Belfast, where he was Dean of the law faculty and a Pro Vice-Chancellor.
In the late 1980s he succeeded Professor Basil Weedon to become the university’s fifth Vice-Chancellor.

When he arrived at Nottingham, Sir Colin decided that the university needed to become globally competitive. His legacy in Nottingham includes Jubilee Campus, on which he has a building in his name, as well as the university’s campuses in China and Malaysia. Under his leadership in 2006 Nottingham also established the first Veterinary School to open in the UK for 50 years. He was made an honorary citizen of Ningbo in 2004 in recognition of his contribution to the construction and development of the city and was made a Datuk by the Government of Malaysia in 2009.

His professional biography includes his appointment as Her Majesty's First Commissioner for Judicial Appointments a position he held until 2006.

He was also a member of the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights for Northern Ireland, the Legal Aid Advisory Committee, the Mental Health Legislation Review Committee, as well as chairing various committees of inquiry in Northern Ireland.

He had previously served on the University Grants Committee, as Vice Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and as a member of the Board of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. In 1994 he was instrumental in the creation of the Russell Group – a group of leading universities established to represent their interests to government. He also held a number of other professional positions including the Northern Ireland Economic Council, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology authority, the Human Genetics Advisory Commission and the Medical Workforce Standing Advisory Committee.

He was knighted in 1994 and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire in 1996.


Posted on 25th May 2022

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