Rector (office of)

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The original office of Rector dates from 1585 when Robert Rollock (1555-1599) was given the title of "Principal and Rector". He was succeeded in this role by Henry Charteris (c1565–1628). The appointment of Andrew Ramsay as Rector in 1620, distinct from Principal, saw the two roles separated.

The Rector in this period was the Town Council's Supervisor, leaving discipline, moral/religious control and college administration with the Principal.

In 1665 the Town Council of Edinburgh resolved that the role of Rector should rest thereafter with the Lord Provost of Edinburgh in an ex officio capacity but in real terms had little or no involvement. By 1838 the then Lord Provost, Sir James Forrest of Comiston, was unclear whether he was the Rector or not.

Formally re-constituted

Along with the Chancellor (office of) and Vice-Chancellor, the current office of Rector was formally constituted following the Universities (Scotland) Act 1858 and is elected by the staff and matriculated students.

Since then, the office has been held by: