A New Era for RGU
Professor Bill Stevely, Principal and Vice Chancellor of RGU since 1997, retired at the end of August. His successor, Professor Michael Pittilo, joined the University on 5th September.
Professor Stevely graduated with a BSc(Hons) Chemistry from Glasgow University in 1965 and a DPhil from St Catherine's College, University of Oxford in 1968. He began his career in Higher Education in 1968 when he was appointed as a lecturer at Glasgow University. This was followed by a post as Head of Biology at Paisley College and as Vice-Principal when the college attained University status in 1992.
During his time with RGU, Professor Stevely has provided academic leadership and played an instrumental role in University developments. Changes in the delivery of courses and the management structure of the organisation have been important factors in RGU's enviable graduate recruitment record and also the University's healthy financial situation.
However, it is perhaps the Estates programme which has been the most obvious change during Professor Stevely's time as Principal. Old, unsuitable buildings have been relinquished and new state-of-the-art facilities have been built at the Garthdee campus. It is particularly fitting that RGU: Sport was opened before his departure as the provision of student sports facilities was something that he saw as vital to the development of the student experience at RGU.
Throughout his career, Professor Stevely has carried a number of external responsibilities, most recently as Convener of Universities Scotland and Chairman of UCAS. His services to education were recognised in 2004 when he was awarded the CBE.
Dr Allan Bruce, Chairman of RGU's Board of Governors said, "Professors Stevely's contribution to education in Aberdeen, Scotland and the UK has been immense. Under his leadership RGU has become a strong, confident, modern university with some of the best teaching and sporting facilities in Scotland. Current and future students will continue to benefit from his legacy for many years to come."
Professor Michael Pittilo was named as Professor Stevely's successor earlier this year, and joined the University on 5th September.
Among those welcoming him to the University is Abed Bandim, Student President who said, "It is with great pleasure that I extend to Professor Pittilo, on behalf of the students of RGU, the warmest congratulations on his appointment. I am convinced that under his stewardship RGU will continue to lead the way in education in the areas of innovation and employability, not only in Scotland but in the whole of the UK."
Professor Pittilo was born in Edinburgh and studied biology at Strathclyde University before embarking on his career in Higher Education. He started his career in 1976 as an electron microscopist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, completing a PhD on parasitic protozoa in 1981.
After postdoctoral research on arterial disease at the University of London, he was appointed to Kingston University where he became Head of Life Sciences. In 1995 he became Foundation Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences at Kingston University and St George's Medical School (University of London). He was appointed Pro Vice Chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire in 2001.
Professor Pittilo has held a number of additional roles, including chairing Department of Health working groups, and as a trustee for the Prince of Wales's Foundation for Integrated Health.
Over the past months, Professor Pittilo has taken an increasingly active role in events at RGU, including participating in staff recruitment and attending the official opening of RGU: Sport. He said, "For many years I have been impressed by the success, ambition and innovation at RGU. It is a great privilege to succeed Professor Stevely and lead RGU in the next stage of its development. I am very much looking forward to working with my new colleagues."