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Here Are Some Great Photos Of Charles Kennedy When He Was A Student In Glasgow

Kennedy graduated from Glasgow University in 1982.

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Charles Kennedy, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, who died on Monday, started his political career at the University of Glasgow.

Kennedy studied in Glasgow from 1978 to 1982, during which time he was elected president of the Glasgow University Union (GUU).

The university has released these images of Kennedy's time at Glasgow, including this photo of the young Kennedy (on the right) taking part in "a custard throwing".

University of Glasgow Archive Services, University photographic collection, UP8/88/1

Kennedy was a leading student debater, winning the British Observer Mace during his time in Glasgow. Here he is at the World Championships in 1981.

University of Glasgow Archive Services, University photographic collection, UP8/66/1

In his welcome address in the 1981 student handbook, he said: "Don't heed the sceptics! Student life, although having serious aspects, can be fun. And in Glasgow University Union it is."

Alex Massie, writing for The Spectator, reported this anecdote Kennedy often told about his student days:

"I received a letter from my careers adviser about halfway through my final year telling me that I needed to come in for a chat, so off I trooped to University Gardens. When I arrived, my Professor sat me down and said, 'Charles, you've done so well at University: President of the Union, British debating champion, you've been awarded a Fulbright scholarship… but you don't seem to be taking your studies very seriously, what is it that you're going to do in life?'

"And so I thought to myself, 'well I'm not really sure', but went on to say 'I quite like reading and people so I could be a teacher, or perhaps I could become a journalist, I'm a good writer' and he said, 'Hmm, well, we'll see…but if all else fails, I suppose there's always politics'.

"And so when, a year later, I was elected to the House of Commons at the age of 23, I received a lovely letter from my old careers adviser, which read: 'Dear Charles, I was most delighted to hear the news of your election to the House of Commons. I can only presume all else failed'."


Current GUU president Rory Slater paid tribute to his predecessor saying he will be "greatly missed".

Glasgow University Union is tremendously sad to hear of the passing of Charles Kennedy. As a former GUU President and Rector of the University of Glasgow, Charles was always a great friend of the Union and will be greatly missed by all. His contributions to our Union and across the wider campus will never be forgotten. The Union extends its deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Jamie Ross at

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