Sir Tom Farmer to step down as chancellor at QMU

Brian Cox receives an honorary doctorate from Sir Tom Farmer at Queen Margaret University in 2007. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Brian Cox receives an honorary doctorate from Sir Tom Farmer at Queen Margaret University in 2007. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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kwik-Fit founder Sir Tom Farmer is stepping down from his role as chancellor at Queen Margaret University.

The entrepreneur – said to be worth more than £130 million – took on the job when the institution was granted full university status in 2007.

He will officiate at this summer’s graduation ceremonies month before stepping down at some point in the next year when a successor is found.

QMU bosses today paid tribute to Leith-born Sir Tom, who has been involved with the university for more than 20 years.

Sir Tom, 74, said: “I have been involved with Queen Margaret University in various roles for almost 20 years, of which the past eight years have been as chancellor.

“During that time, I have seen the university grow and enjoy great success.

“Having participated in 23 graduation ceremonies, one of the greatest pleasures for me has been shaking hands with and looking into the eyes of more than 10,000 graduates who I know are well prepared to go into the world and make a difference to society because of their time at Queen Margaret University.”

Bosses at QMU said Sir Tom – the Hibs majority shareholder – had introduced the 
university to new audiences in his key ambassadorial role.

They hailed his rousing speeches for bringing the university to the attention of the business community, philanthropists and sporting heroes both in Scotland and overseas.

Sir Tom was initially appointed president of its development campaign in 1999 before launching its first fundraising campaign on board The Royal Yacht Britannia and hosting a reception at the House of Lords.

Keir Bloomer, chair of the Court of Queen Margaret University, said the multi-millionaire would be a hard man to replace.

He said: “It has been our privilege to have Sir Tom as our founding chancellor.

“As someone who is a great visionary with limitless energy and commitment to society, he was a natural choice as chancellor for an ambitious new university committed to social justice.

“We will miss him greatly when he steps down.”

Professor Petra Wend, principal and vice-chancellor of Queen Margaret University said Sir Tom had been the perfect chancellor.

She said: “In his time as Chancellor, Sir Tom has been a true asset to the university and a wonderful advocate for our work, as well as an immense support to me personally and to my colleagues.

“QMU’s vision is to be a university of ideas and influence.

“With his entrepreneurial brilliance and commitment to make a difference in the world, Sir Tom is someone who embodies ideas and influence, fitting him perfectly to his role as chancellor.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com