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The Vice-Chancellor is the president and principal academic and administrative officer of the University.


Vice Chancellor Speaking - opening ceremony

Dr James Topping, Vice-Chancellor and Principal 1966-1971

Dr Topping Vice Chancellor (1)

Born in Wigan, Lancashire on 9 December 1904.

Studied physics at Manchester and completed his PhD in London.

Lectured at Imperial College, London and the Manchester College of Technology (now UMIST) before being appointed as Head of Mathematics and Physics at the Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster).

Appointed Principal of Acton College in 1955 establishing the ‘sandwich’ courses – where students spend part of the time working in industry and part of the time studying at the college.

Appointed first Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University in 1966.

Died on 3 June 1994.

Dr Stephen Bragg, Vice-Chancellor and Principal 1971-1981

Prof Bragg  Vice Chancellor

Born 17 November 1923.

Studied engineering at University of Cambridge BA 1945,MA 1949 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1949

Worked for Rolls Royce.

Appointed Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University in 1971 until 1981.

Returned to Cambridge as director of the Industrial Cooperation Unit and Fellow of Wolfson College.

Died 14 November 2014.

Professor Richard E.D. Bishop, Vice-Chancellor and Principal 1981-1989

Prof Bishop Vice Chancellor

Born on 1 January 1925.

Accepted a place in the Mechanical Engineering Department, University College London in 1946.

Studied Engineering Mechanics at Stanford.

Appointed Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University in 1981 until 1989.

Died 12 September, 1989.

Professor Michael Sterling, Vice-Chancellor and Principal 1990-2001

Prof Sterling Vice Chancellor

Born 9 February 1946.

Joined Associated Electrical Industries (later General Electric Company) as an apprentice in 1964.

Awarded a scholarship to the University of Sheffield to read electronic and electrical engineering and graduated with a 1st class honours degree.

Awarded a PhD in computer control in 1971.

Joined the University of Sheffield as a lecturer and was promoted to senior lecturer in 1978.

Moved to Durham University as professor of Engineering in 1980.

Appointed Vice Chancellor of Brunel University in 1990 until 2001.

Appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham in October 2001 and remained until his retirement in April 2009.

Knighted in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to higher education, science and engineering.

Professor Steven Schwartz, Vice-Chancellor and Principal 2001-2005

Prof Schwartz Vice Chancellor

Born in New York on 5 November 1946.

Attended Brooklyn College of the City University of New York then Syracuse where he completed his PhD. 

Appointed Vice-Chancellor of Murdoch University, Australia in 1996

Appointed Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University in 2002 until 2005.

Appointed Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University, Australia in 2006 until retirement in 2012.

Professor Chris Jenks, Vice-Chancellor and Principal 2006-2012

Prof Jenks Vice Chancellor

Born 12 June 1947. 

Educated at Westminster City School. 

Studied at the University of Surrey, BSc 1969 then the University of London (PGCE, 1970; MSc, 1971). 

Pro-Warden Research at Goldsmiths College. 

Joined Brunel University in 2004 as PVC for Research. 

Appointed Vice-Chancellor at Brunel University in 2006 until retirement in 2012. 

Professor Julia Buckingham, Vice-Chancellor and President 2012-2021

ResizeProf Buckingham Vice Chancellor

Educated at Mary's School, Calne, Wilts.

Studied Zoology at the University of Sheffield between 1968-1971 then Pharmacology at the University of London (Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine) between 1972-1974.

Joined Imperial College London in 1997.

1997-2003: Professor of Pharmacology, Head, Department of Neuroendocrinology, Deputy Head, Division of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine: Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London.

2000-2003: College Dean for Non-Clinical Medicine: Imperial College London.

2003-2007: Head, Division of Neuroscience and Mental Health and Professor of Pharmacology: Imperial College London.

2007-2010: Pro-Rector (Education) and Head of the College Centre for Integrative Mammalian Physiology and Pharmacology, Imperial College London.

Studied at the London Business School (Accelerated Development Programme) in 2008/9.

2010 to 2012: Pro-Rector (Education and Academic Affairs) and Head of the College Centre for Integrative Mammalian Physiology and Pharmacology, Imperial College London.

Appointed Brunel University’s first female Vice-Chancellor in 2012 until retirement in 2021.