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Durham University News


Vice-Chancellor retires from Durham University

(22 March 2007)

Vice Chancellor, Sir Kenneth Calman

Durham University’s most senior academic, Professor Sir Kenneth Calman, is retiring after almost a decade at the helm. Sir Kenneth has notched up a number of achievements during his time, which include a 30 per cent increase in student numbers and helping Durham to become an established top ten British university.

Sir Kenneth Calman has held the position of Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University since 1998. Upon joining the University, Durham was ranked 17th in the Sunday Times’ acclaimed University Guide. Under Sir Kenneth’s leadership Durham has now become established in the top 10 reaching its highest ever position of 8th in the UK this year.

During his time as Vice-Chancellor, Sir Kenneth has been instrumental in a significant number of developments at Durham including the reorganisation of the University and the development of a long term strategy. International links across the globe have been increased and strengthened including those with countries such as China, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and across Europe.

The University has developed considerably in the last decade with two new colleges in Durham (Ustinov and Josephine Butler Colleges) and a series of new buildings such as extensions to the Chemistry, Physics and Biological Sciences departments. The latest addition, a £12million science lecture theatre complex, is currently underway. At Queen’s Campus in Stockton, the Vice-Chancellor was influential in the return to the teaching of medicine as well as the establishment of two colleges (John Snow and George Stephenson Colleges) and the Wolfson Research Institute.

Sir Kenneth’s retirement coincides with celebrations for Durham’s 175th anniversary, in which he has played a key part.

Sir Kenneth commented: “It has been an honour and a privilege to be part of Durham University, and the wider community in the North East of England. It has been a wonderful experience, and I have enjoyed it enormously. I will retain fond links and memories of my time in Durham and wish the University, the City, the County and the North East every success in the future.”

A portrait of Sir Kenneth was unveiled earlier this year to honour his contribution to the University. It was painted by renowned Scottish artist Anne Mackintosh who has had a distinguished career in the art world and whose previous work includes portraits of Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and the Duchess of York.

Anne Galbraith OBE, Chairman of the University’s governing body, Council, said: “Sir Kenneth’s time as Durham’s Vice-Chancellor will be regarded as one of the most successful periods in the University’s history. To lead an institution of such great heritage and quality is an enormous challenge but one that Sir Kenneth embraced with great passion and humanity when he was appointed.

“Sir Kenneth’s profile can leave you in no doubt that he is a wise man with wide-ranging interests and experience, but for those who know him well, he is also a man of great charm and humour. His recently unveiled portrait, painted in the full splendour of his ceremonial robes, may tell you much about the private individual, when you see his faithful dog Mungo portrayed alongside him.”

Before taking up his appointment at the University, Sir Kenneth was the UK government’s Chief Medical Officer in London (1991-98). He also served for many years as a prominent clinical professor and he is an author on the treatment and care of cancer patients, and other health issues. His most recent books are A Study of Story Telling, Humour and Learning in Medicine and The History of Medical Education: Past, Present and Future.

Professor Sir Kenneth Calman has been elected the Chancellor of the University of Glasgow.

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