Biography of Richard Austen Butler
Richard Austen Butler
Richard Austen (commonly known as "Rab") Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden (1902-1982), was Rector of the University from 1956 until 1959.
Butler was born in India and studied at Prembroke College, Cambridge, where he was President of the Union. He was a Conservative MP from 1929 until 1956 and held numerous offices in government, including Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary. He was appointed Master of Trinity College, Cambridge in 1965, the year he was made a life peer.
Butler's opponents in the 1956 rectorial election were the former Prime Minister Lord Attlee, the writer Ernest Hemmingway, and the judge, Lord Gibson. The installation ceremony in February 1958 was one of the most notorious events in the University's history, as a small group of students caused an uproar and pelted the platform with eggs, tomatoes, soot and flour and set off fire extinguishers. The University reacted by fining a number of students for their bad behaviour, and by switching the venue for installation ceremonies from the city's St Andrew's Hall to the Bute Hall.