10 July 2003
Former University Chancellor Lord Shawcross dies
Lord Shawcross, one of the University's founding fathers and the longest-serving Chancellor in its 40-year history, has died at the age of 101.
Born on 4 February 1902, Hartley Williams Shawcross attended Dulwich College and went on to train as a barrister. He was the chief UK prosecutor at the Nuremberg war trials in 1945. From 1945-58 he served as MP for St Helen's and was Attorney General in the post-war Labour government.
After his departure from politics, Shawcross was made a life peer and appointed to a number of "odd jobs", as he described them in his memoirs. Among other posts he chaired the Medical Research Council from 1961-65.
He bought Friston Place, near Eastbourne, and became one of the figures in the establishment of the University of Sussex, both as a member of Council and a Pro-Chancellor (deputising in his absence for the founding Chancellor, Lord Monckton).
In paying tribute to Lord Shawcross, Lord Briggs, who was the university's vice-chancellor during Lord Shawcross' chancellorship, said: "He was a very active chancellor of the university. He had very much his own mind and rather enjoyed the excitement of the late 1960s here. He said he had known nothing like it since he was an MP in St Helens.I shared a friendship with him and his family and last saw him at his 100th birthday party, when we had an interesting chat about our memories of Sussex."
Current vice-chancellor Professor Alasdair Smith said: "Lord Shawcross was one of the founding fathers of the university who together helped to shape its ground-breaking approach to higher education. In particular, he supported the development of Sir Basil Spence's innovative building designs, which remain such a striking feature of the Sussex campus. We are proud that he was part of the university life for more than 20 years."
In his memoirs, Lord Shawcross recalled: "I was at an early stage appointed chairman of the buildings committee for the whole university, I think on the theory that it would involve one professional man - me - dealing with another professional man, the leading architect. This was not always easy but the redoubtable Basil Spence and I got on well together."
Lord Shawcross was elected Chancellor - the University's most senior officer - at a special meeting of Court in 1965. His formal duties included presiding over graduation ceremonies and the annual meetings of Court until his retirement in 1985. Most importantly, though, he acted as a figurehead for the university, building bridges to the outside world and acting as the university's ambassador.
He held honorary degrees from nine universities in Britain and the USA and was the director of some 15 companies including EMI, Shell Petroleum and Times Newspapers. He is survived by his third wife, Monique, and his children, William, Joanna and Hume.
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