The Chancellor is appointed by University Court as the titular head of the University who confers degrees and other academic distinctions.
Lord Cullen was educated at the High School of Dundee, and his father was a governor of the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology – the institution that eventually became Abertay University.
After studying at St Andrews and Edinburgh universities, Douglas Cullen was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1960 and appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1973. He served as an Advocate Depute from 1978 to 1981, and was a Chairman of Medical Appeal Tribunal from 1977 until his appointment as a judge in 1986. He was Lord Justice Clerk from 1997 to 2001, when he was appointed Lord Justice General and Lord President of the Court of Session. He was made a privy counsellor in 1997 and a peer in 2003.
Lord Cullen chaired the public enquiries into the Piper Alpha disaster (1988-90), the Dunblane Primary School shootings (1996), and the Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry (1999-2001). In 2002, Lord Cullen chaired the appeal court that rejected the appeal of Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi against his conviction for the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.
Lord Cullen retired from the law in November 2005. He has been a member of the Civil and Commercial Court of the Qatar Financial Centre since 2007. He was appointed Knight of the Thistle in 2007. He was appointed as the Chancellor of Abertay University from August 2009 and was formally installed as Chancellor at a ceremony in Dundee Parish Church (St Marys) in September 2009.
1994 – 2009 The Rt Hon Earl of Airlie KT GCVO JP
2009 to date The Rt Hon Lord Cullen of Whitekirk KT FRSE Hon FREng