We are deeply saddened by the news today, of the passing of our Chancellor, Lord Elder.
Lord Elder has been Chancellor of Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education for 19 years and has been a tremendous supporter of our work and our mission to be a leading centre of learning.
He was a committed advocate for education and opportunities for all and was always on hand with advice and input to the development of the College.
I always found Lord (Murray) Elder to be extremely engaged with his work for the College and a great support to me and other members of staff. We will miss him, the valuable insight he gave us and the encouragement we always enjoyed.
The staff, students and supporters of Al-Maktoum College have lost a very dear friend indeed.
As well as his role in education, Lord Elder had a distinguished political career including as General Secretary of the Labour Party from 1988 to 1992 and Chief of Staff to the then Leader of the Labour Party, John Smith until 1994.
Following Mr Smith’s death, Lord Elder became an adviser to both Tony Blair and the late Secretary of State for Scotland, Donald Dewar. He was one of the co-architects of the White Paper which led to the devolution bill which brought about the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
He entered the House of Lords in 1999 and held several key committee positions including on Monetary Policy and Economic Affairs.
Lord Elder’s interest in economics stemmed from his degree in Economic History at the University of Edinburgh where he studied with his school friend from Kirkcaldy, the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In his early career he worked for the Bank of England.
Although Lord Elder had suffered a period of ill health, he bore it with incredible fortitude and strength. He was determined to return to the House of Lords this year which he did. As well as his achievements in public life, he also had the honour of being one of the world’s longest surviving heart transplant patients.
As well as politics and education, Lord Elder’s other passion was for hillwalking, and he completed all 284 of the Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000ft tall) in 2007.
We have sent our deepest sympathy to Lord Elder’s family.