Iain Macwhirter chosen as Edinburgh’s 50th Rector

Iain Macwhirter has been elected as the University’s 50th Rector.

Iain Macwhirter

The journalist took 4822 votes in the Rectorial Election, winning 69 per cent of the total vote. Mr Macwhirter beat off a challenge from George Foulkes.

Iain Macwhirter said:

"I am delighted that the students and staff of the University of Edinburgh have chosen me to be their Rector.

"I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to take an active involvement in the University and look to ensure the interests of both staff and students are maintained.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank George Foulkes for running an excellent campaign and wish him all the best in his future endeavours."

Interview with Iain Macwhirter

Watch a video interview with Iain Macwhirter, following the Rectorial Election results.

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We are delighted to welcome Iain Macwhirter as the University of Edinburgh’s next Rector. We look forward to working with him.

Dr Alexis CornishDeputy Returning Officer for the Rectorial Elections

The role of rector

The Rector chairs the University Court, the governing body of the University, and represents the interests of students and staff.

The University’s Rectorial Election takes place every three years.

The Rector


This election marks 150 years since William Gladstone first took up the post of Rector at the University.

The role was established by an 1858 Act of Parliament.

Past rectors include Prime Ministers Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, Stanley Baldwin and Gordon Brown, when he was a student at Edinburgh.

The current Rector is the former Green MSP Mark Ballard. Others to hold the position include:

  • Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin
  • James Robertson Justice, actor
  • Magnus Magnusson, journalist and presenter
  • Muriel Gray, journalist and broadcaster
  • Donnie Monro, singer
  • John Colquhoun, footballer
  • Tam Dalyell, MP

Related Links

Rectorial Election 2009