Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli announces retirement as Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University

Dear Colleagues, Students and Friends,

I am writing to let you know of my intention to retire from my position as University Principal. I have indicated to the University Court that I would like to step back at a time in line with my retirement plans.

When I was re-appointed to a third term as Principal, I did make it clear to both Court and Senate that I would not be seeking a fourth term. I am, however, grateful to Court that they wish for me to continue further into the next academic session until my successor is in post. Plans are now in place for a search process for a new Principal, which indicatively would allow a hand-over at the end of September 2025.

The trust that Court and the whole University community has bestowed on me is hugely appreciated and is not commonplace in the hectic environment of contemporary Higher Education. I am immensely grateful for their confidence in me and in our senior team throughout my time as Principal.

By next year, I will have served 16 years as Principal, and I will have served over 20 years in University senior management. I feel this is the right time to finally step back from my current role, and to enable a new Principal to come forward to lead our institution through the next chapter.

This is an opportune time to hand over the leadership of the University. We are at the end of a strategic planning cycle, and we have completed the first phase of our campus development, backed by a highly successful fundraising campaign.

The University is in a very good place at present, both academically and financially. This is your achievement.

We have one of the strongest financial positions in the UK sector. In REF2021 in terms of overall quality (as measured by grade point average) we are top in Scotland and top 10 amongst UK Universities. We have, against massively increased competition, consistently retained our status as a global top-100 University in the THE and QS rankings, and we are seen as a top-20 University globally in terms of sustainability and impact.

This has been despite considerable headwinds, like Brexit, economic instability and the global pandemic (and latterly an adverse public funding environment that the pandemic created).

When I took on this role, I said that I wanted the University to be one of the leading universities in the world, and second to none in Scotland. Our reputation is stronger than ever, which is testament to what our whole community has achieved in the last 15 years.

We have transformed ourselves from a smaller Russell Group University to a leading research-intensive University with global reach and even stronger civic roots in Glasgow. We have grown a reputation as a University which widens access to education, is proudly international, and uses our research to effect positive change on a local and global scale. I am proud that we have been able to grow our academic base substantially in recent years, supporting and investing in the student experience. We now employ well over 11,000 staff and we have grown to have a £4.4bn economic impact on the UK and Scottish economies.

Above all, Glasgow now is not only a world-changing University with a great past, but also one with a world-leading reputation and profile. I have been immensely privileged to be able to represent a University whose students and colleagues are unafraid of embracing change and who have encouraged our institution to address major societal challenges, from socioeconomic inequalities and racial justice to the climate emergency and the responsibility we have as a University to build equitable partnerships.

I first set foot on our Gilmorehill campus more than forty years ago as an undergraduate and went on to do my PhD here. I became a lecturer, professor and later joined the senior management team. I feel fortunate and honoured to have been able to spend a great portion of my working life at the University of Glasgow and I am very grateful to the thousands of colleagues, students, alumni, partners and friends who have shaped my time here.

My main wish for the University as it moves forward is that we should continue to be very ambitious and courageous as an institution. We have the capacity, the ingenuity, the talented people and the strong foundations to achieve even more. In 15 more years, by the end of the 2030s, I’m confident that Glasgow can go on to even bigger and better things.

There is plenty of time to go before I leave the University, and of course my long association with UofG as a student, academic and Principal means that I will not be going very far! I hope to continue a close association with the University during my “retirement” and I will continue to be a loyal supporter of our institution, albeit from a new and different perspective.

There is still much work to be done in the months ahead and those of you who know me well will know that I have absolutely no intention of slowing down before I retire! There are many exciting projects that we are currently working on, and which I look forward to driving forward with my senior management colleagues.

Indeed, I look forward to having the opportunity to further engage with our community in the months ahead and to thank you for your continued support, which I know my successor will also greatly benefit from.

With best wishes,

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
University of Glasgow