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 (EUSA).
Current Rector: Steve Morrison
Mr Morrison, an alumnus of the University, is a television producer and broadcaster.
He came to Edinburgh in 1965 to read Politics and holds both an undergraduate degree and an Honorary Doctorate in Social Science from the University. He was the first student to run for Rector in 1969.
After university, Mr Morrison attended the National Film and Television School and joined Granada Television in 1974. He formed Granada Film, which won two Oscars with My Left Foot.
He later became the Director of Programmes and then Chief Executive of Granada. He left to found All3Media, Britain’s largest independent television production group employing hundreds of staff.
Mr Morrison was instrumental in the formation of the campaign group Third World First, which went on to become the anti-poverty organisation People and Planet.
Mr Morrison currently sits on the advisory board of the Edinburgh College of Art.
Enquiries to the Rector are handled by Joyce Morrison.
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 Right Honourable 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.
Photographs of Rectors from as far back as 1920.
List of previous Rectors
- 2015 Steve Morrison (current Rector)
- 2011 Peter McColl
- 2009 Iain Macwhirter
- 2006 Mark Ballard
- 2003 Tam Dalyell MP
- 2000 Robin Harper MSP
- 1997 John Colquhoun
- 1994 Dr Malcolm Macleod
- 1991 Donnie Munro
- 1988 Muriel Gray
- 1985 Archie MacPherson
- 1982 David Steel (now Sir David Steel)
- 1979 Dr Anthony Ross
- 1975 Magnus Magnusson
- 1972 Dr Gordon Brown
- 1971 Jonathan Wills
- 1968 Kenneth Allsop
- 1966 Malcolm Muggeridge
- 1963 James Robertson Justice
- 1960 Joseph Grimond
- 1957 James Robertson Justice
- 1954 Sir Sydney A Smith
- 1951 Sir Alexander Fleming
- 1948 Alastair Sim
- 1945 Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope
- 1939 Sir J Donald Pollock, Baronet
- 1936 Sir Herbert John Clifford Grierson
- 1935 Viscount Allenby
- 1932 General Sir Ian Hamilton
- 1929 The Rt Hon. Sir Winston Churchill
- 1926 The Rt Hon. Sir John Gilmour
- 1923 The Rt Hon. Stanley Baldwin
- 1920 The Rt Hon. David Lloyd George
- 1917 Earl Beatty
- 1914 Earl Kitchener of Khartoum
- 1911 The Earl of Minto
- 1908 The Rt Hon. Geo. Wyndham
- 1905 The Rt Hon. Richard Burdon Haldane
- 1902 Sir Robert Bannatyne Finlay
- 1899 The Marquess of Dufferin & Ava
- 1896 Lord Balfour of Burleigh
- 1893 The Rt Hon. J P B Robertson
- 1890 The Rt Hon. G J Goschen
- 1887 The Marquess of Lothian
- 1883 Earl of Iddlesleigh
- 1880 Earl of Rosebery
- 1877 The Marquess of Hartington
- 1874 Earl of Derby
- 1871 Sir W Stirling Maxwell
- 1868 Lord Moncrieff
- 1865 Thomas Carlyle
- 1859 The Rt Hon. W E Gladstone