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Issue 474, 3 December 2001

VC's personal honour is also 'for the University'

After a decade steering the University through a period of unprecedented growth, transformation and regeneration, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Alan Wilson received his knighthood for services to higher education from the Queen at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace last week.

Professor Wilson said: "This honour gives me a lot of pleasure but I emphasise that it is as much for the University as it is for me personally."

In the ten years since Sir Alan became Vice-Chancellor, student numbers have increased from some 12,000 to around 28,000; turnover has increased from 100m to 270m and research income has increased by 400 percent, to around 64m.

Delighted – with Lady Sarah (left) and receiving the honour (below)

Alan Wilson was born in Bradford in 1939, and educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Darlington and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics. His career has encompassed a wide range of disciplines theoretical physics, applied mathematics, computer science and geography in academic and government posts. He came to the University of Leeds in 1970 as a professor of urban and regional geography, and served three terms as chair of the school of geography, becoming a pro-vice-chancellor in 1989 and Vice-Chancellor in 1991.

His own pioneering work on geographic modelling led in 1990 to the formation of GMAP Ltd, the University's most successful 'technology transfer' company to date.

Despite the demands of running an institution with a 270m turnover, Professor Wilson still finds time to continue his own research interests on applications of dynamical systems theory, including the impact of catastrophe theory and bifurcation on urban structure models, leading to a developing interest in the broader field of complexity theory.







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