The primary role of the Rector is to preside at the University Court.
The Rector also chairs meetings of the General Council in absence of the Chancellor.
They work closely with students and the Edinburgh University Students’ Association.
Mr McColl came to Edinburgh in 1998 to read geography and holds both an undergraduate degree and Masters from the University.
He was Vice President of the Students’ Association from 2001-02 and had been President of the University’s People and Planet society prior to that.
After University Mr McColl worked as an advisor to Mark Ballard MSP, who was also Rector from 2006-2009.
Mr McColl was Mr Ballard’s assessor while he was Rector.
He McColl later worked for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Mr McColl was Chair of Transition Scotland Support from 2008-2011 and is an editor of the Bright Green blog.
In 2011 Mr McColl was voted one of the top 100 political bloggers, and was voted top Green blogger by Total Politics Magazine.
The position of Rector has a long and prestigious lineage. Originally created in the 19th century by the Universities Scotland Act 1858, the role has developed over time.
The position of Rector was initially filled by eminent politicians and military figures in the 18th and 19th centuries, including Sir Winston Churchill and the Rt Hon W E Gladstone.
In recent years rectors have come a broader range of Scotland’s public and cultural life, including television presenter Muriel Gray and the first Green politican Robin Harper MSP, all of whom have had some connection with Edinburgh.
Photos from past rectorial elections, from as far back as 1920.
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This article was published on Oct 10, 2014