Past Chancellors and Vice Chancellors

Princess Alexandra in a University cap and gown


HRH Princess Alexandra

HRH Princess Alexandra KG, GCVO, Hon DMus

Chancellor 1964-2004

HRH Princess Alexandra KG, GCVO, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, was Chancellor of Lancaster University from its foundation until December 2004, presiding at most degree ceremonies and many unveilings. She was subsequently awarded an honorary degree in Music.

Sir Christian Bonington

Sir Christian Bonington, CVO, CBE, DL

Chancellor 2005-2015

Sir Chris Bonington, renowned mountaineer. He made the first British ascent of the North Wall of the Eiger and led the expedition that made the first ascent of The South Face of Annapurna. He went on to lead the expedition that made the first ascent of the Southwest Face of Everest in 1975 and then reached the summit of Everest himself in 1985. He was Chancellor of Lancaster University for a decade from May 2005 and is still associated as Chancellor’s Ambassador.

Vice Chancellors

Sir Charles Frederick Carter, MA, Hon DSc

Sir Charles Frederick Carter, MA, Hon DSc

Vice-Chancellor 1963-1979

The late Sir Charles Carter was Lancaster University’s founding Vice-Chancellor. An applied economist and active member of the Society of Friends, he came to Lancaster and took a particular interest in setting up the Management School. Sir Charles was knighted in 1978 and was also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees.

Professor Philip Reynolds

Professor Philip Alan Reynolds, CBE, MA, FRHistS, Hon DLitt

Vice-Chancellor 1980-1985

The late Professor Philip Reynolds, a political scientist, was acting Vice-Chancellor from October 1978 to December 1979 and Vice-Chancellor from 1980-85. Previously, he had been a Professor of Politics, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and founding Principal of Furness College, and subsequently Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Harold Hanham

Professor Harold John Hanham, BA, MA, PhD, FRHistS, Hon DSc

Vice-Chancellor 1985-1995

Professor Hanham, born in New Zealand, was a professor of history at Harvard (1968-72) and Dean of Humanities at MIT (1973-85).

During his time at Lancaster, he put a greater strategic focus on research, achieving major improvements in both volume and quantity by the time of the 1992 RAE.

Professor William Ritchie

Professor William Ritchie, OBE, BSc, PhD, FRSGS, FRICS, FRS (Edinburgh) Hon DSc

Vice-Chancellor 1995-2002

Professor Ritchie was a Professor of Physical Geography (1979-95) and senior vice-principal (1992-95) at Aberdeen, and joint editor of The Environmental Impact of the Wreck of the Braer (Scottish Office,1994). He maintained the University’s high reputation for research and initiated the creation of the Lancaster Environment Centre.

Paul Wellings

Professor Paul William Wellings, CBE, BSc, MSc, PhD, Hon DSc, DL

Vice-Chancellor 2002-2011

Professor Wellings was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School. He was Deputy Chief Executive at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (1999-2002). While at Lancaster, he was a board member of UUK and chair of its International and European Policy Committee, and a board member of the HEFCE and chair of its Research Committee.

Professor Mark E Smith

Professor Mark Edmund Smith, CBE, BSc, PhD, FIP

Vice-Chancellor 2012-2019

Professor Smith, an applied physicist, was Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Warwick before coming to Lancaster. During his time at Lancaster, the university was named University of the Year (Sunday Times, 2018) and International University of the Year (The Times and Sunday Times, 2020). He oversaw the development of the Health Innovation Campus.