Biography of Robert Dinwiddie
Robert Dinwiddie by Unknown artist
Robert Dinwiddie, a former alumnus of the University in 1707 and colonial administrator, was conferred an honorary degree by the University of Glasgow in 1754. He was also 'Granter of Dinwiddie Mortification' for the University of Glasgow Library, by which he left a bequest of £100 for the procurement of books.
Born in Glasgow around 1692, Dinwiddie worked as a merchant before entering British government service in 1727 as collector of the customs for Bermuda. He was appointed surveyor general (of revenues) for the southern part of America in 1738, and in 1741 became a member of the Governor’s Council of Virginia. Afterwards he was made Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. In 1753 he was said to have played a role in precipitating the French and Indian War though his support of the Ohio Company's land claims against the French.
In conferring an honorary degree to Dinwiddie, the University of Glasgow Minutes of 20 December state "it would be very proper to confer the Degree both as he was an Alumnus of this Universitie and a Native of this City, and who by the high office he bears does Honour to both, and may have occasion to promote their Interest."
In 1758 Dinwiddie returned to England, where he died at Clifton, on 1 August 1770.
Dinwiddie was also mentioned frequently in Thackeray's novel, The Virginians.