Biography of John Bell
John Lamberton Bell (1949- ) was University Rector from 1977 to 1980. He was the first and last student to be elected rector as the rules were subsequently altered to prevent matriculated students of the University from standing for the post.
Born in Kilmarnock, Bell studied at the University in the early 1970s and graduated MA in 1975. In 1974 he was elected President of the Students' Representative Council and he embarked on a number of high-profile campaigns to highlight problems relating to student accommodation and library opening times. Under his presidency, the SRC introduced the "Week Nothing" programme for freshers. After a short period living abroad, Bell returned to the University to study Divinity and graduated BD with First Class Honours in 1978.
In 1977 Bell's opponents were the sports journalist Ian Archer; Hortensia Allende, the widow of Chile's President, Salvador; Canon Sydney MacEwan; the founder of the British Union of Fascists Sir Oswald Mosley; the Conservative MP Norman St John Stevas, and the swimmer David Wilkie.
Bell was ordained a minister in the Church of Scotland during his rectorship, and he has also become known for his work as a hymn-writer, a member of the Iona Community and a broadcaster. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University in 2002.
Born 1949, Kilmarnock, Scotland.
University Link: Alumnus, Honorary Graduate, Rector
GU Degrees: MA, 1975; Arts, BD, 1978; Arts, DUniv, 2002;
Occupation categories: clergy
Record last updated: 13th Aug 2012