Biography of Charles Kennedy
Charles Kennedy, Rectorial Election Results Night 2011
Charles Kennedy was born in Inverness in 1959. He studied Politics and Philosophy at the University, graduating MA (Hons) in 1982. He was President of Glasgow University Union from 1980 to 1981 and won the British Observer Mace for University Debating in 1982. He received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2001 and served two terms as Rector from 2008 to 2014.
Kennedy was brought up in Fort William and attended Lochaber High School. Following graduation, he worked as a journalist and broadcaster with BBC Highland in Inverness. In 1983 he was elected the SDP MP for Ross, Cromarty and Skye, defeating the sitting government minister to become the youngest MP at that time. He backed the merger of the SDP with the Liberal Party in 1994 was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1999 to 2006. In September 2006 he was elected Vice-President of Liberal International and in 2007 he was unanimously elected President of the European Movement in Britain.
Kennedy stood as an independent candidate for the post of University of Glasgow Rector, stating in his manifesto that he had felt since his student days at the University that the position of Rector should not be party political. He stressed the need for a working rector who could chair the University Court, work with student bodies and be "something of a constituency MP for the campus generally". Kennedy also stated his belief that the Rector should be able to command a national platform to highlight issues affecting students and the University.
Kennedy defeated human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar, writer and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli and Green MSP Patrick Harvie. He was installed as Rector on 10 April 2008 and was re-elected for a second term in 2011. Kennedy was the first Rector to be re-elected for a second term since Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli in 1874.
The University was deeply saddened to learn of his death barely a year after he ended his term as Rector. The Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Anton Muscatelli paid tribute to Charles Kennedy. "Charles was a distinguished alumnus of the University of Glasgow and served two terms as Rector. He contributed an enormous amount, and was a friend to all who came into contact with him."
A memorial service to mark Charles Kennedy's remarkable contribution to public life was held in the Bute Hall at the University of Glasgow on Thursday 18 June at 7pm.
Born 1959, Inverness, Scotland.
University Link: Alumnus, Honorary Graduate, Rector
GU Degrees: MA, 1982; DUniv, 2001;
Occupation categories: politicians
Record last updated: 19th Jun 2015