Glasgow University to hold Charles Kennedy memorial

A memorial service to honour the life of former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy will be held at the University of Glasgow this evening.
Charles Kennedy pictured after being installed as Rector of Glasgow University in 2008. Picture: TSPLCharles Kennedy pictured after being installed as Rector of Glasgow University in 2008. Picture: TSPL
Charles Kennedy pictured after being installed as Rector of Glasgow University in 2008. Picture: TSPL

The event, at the institution’s Bute Hall, is expected to be attended by large numbers of people and comes just days after his funeral took place in the Highlands.

The father-of-one died suddenly earlier this month at the age of 55.

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Mr Kennedy was a former student and rector at Glasgow, the UK’s fourth oldest university.

He studied politics and philosophy - graduating with an MA (Hons) in 1982 - and sharpened his renowned debating skills during his time in the city.

The politician received an honorary doctorate from the university in 2001 and was later elected rector in 2008, holding the position for six years.

He became the first Glasgow rector to be re-elected for a second term since former prime minister Benjamin Disraeli in the 1870s.

Tributes have poured in from all parts of the university community since Mr Kennedy died at his home in Fort William on June 1.

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The service will be led by university chaplain the Reverend Stuart MacQuarrie.

It will begin with an academic procession, which will be piped in by Donald Campbell, who retired earlier this month as the university’s official piper.

Friends and politicians attending the service will also hear tributes from university principal and vice chancellor Professor Anton Muscatelli, Mr Kennedy’s lifelong friend Brian McBride and the presidents of the Glasgow University Union and the Students’ Representative Council.

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In comments posted on the university’s website, Prof Muscatelli described Mr Kennedy as a “hugely significant figure” at the institution.

He also paid tribute to Mr Kennedy’s dedication to his role representing students during his time as student rector.

“He said publicly and wrote as well that he enjoyed representing students tremendously. He enjoyed being part of the university and we worked very well together, but most of all he enjoyed being with students and representing their views to management,” Prof Muscatelli said.

“I think the students held him in high regard because of the fact that he was so down to earth.

“Some public figures can be quite distant but Charles was not like that - he was very affable and quite humble, and that is why people found him so easy to relate to.”

A memorial fund is being set up by the university to commemorate Mr Kennedy’s life.

The aim of the fund is to name a teaching area or lecture theatre within a new building being planned at the campus.

Those attending the service will be given the opportunity to contribute to the pot.

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Hundreds of people attended Mr Kennedy’s funeral in Caol, Fort William, last Friday.

Political figures including Gordon Brown, John Swinney, Sir Menzies Campbell and former spin doctor Alastair Campbell were among the mourners at the requiem mass.