17 April 2024

Death of former Principal Professor Bernard King

Death of former Principal Professor Bernard King

Head and shoulders picture of Prof Bernard King in a suit and tie inset into a picture of the University Library building

It is with great sadness that the University announces the death of former Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bernard King.

Professor King was Abertay’s first Principal and had a transformative impact on the institution during his tenure.  

A driving force behind the successful bid to gain university status, Professor King became Principal of our predecessor institution, Dundee Institute of Technology, in 1992 and was instrumental in establishing Abertay’s identity and approach as a modern university.

Under his leadership, Abertay built a new approach to teaching and research across a period of rapid technological change, including the launch of the world’s first video games degree – the catalyst for our global reputation in this area. 

Between 1994 and 2004 he led a wider shift in course provision, moving away from traditional engineering towards disciplines such as computing, technology, social sciences, sport and forensics. The University campus was also expanded significantly under his direction, including the award-winning design and build of the Bernard King Library and construction of what is now the Annie Lamont Building. 

As convener of Universities Scotland from 2010 to 2012, Professor King worked with a range of organisations with the aim of advancing higher education, including many government taskforce and advisory groups. He served as a trustee of Tayside Primary Healthcare Trust, was a member of the board of directors of Scottish Enterprise in Tayside and was chairman of the board of governors of the Scottish Crop Research Institute (now James Hutton Institute). 

In a book to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Abertay, Professor King paid tribute to the ‘unstinting support and encouragement’ staff had given to the development of the University’s mission, purpose and values, and pledged to be an institution ‘committed to knowledge creation through innovation...and with a passion for achieving success.’ 

Professor King's death marks a loss to the University and will be keenly felt by all those who engaged with him at Abertay, across the higher education sector and in civic life. 

The thoughts of the University community are with his family, friends and loved ones at this sad time. 


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