Gordon McGregor Obituary

Gordon McGregor, my former colleague, passed away at the age of 86. He served as the principal of Bishop Otter College of Education for ten years starting from 1970 in West Sussex. The college is now a part of the University of Chichester. Later, he held the position of the principal of the College of Ripon and York St John, now known as York St John University, until his retirement in 1995.

Gordon was a leader that was inspired by Christian values and social principles. He was recognized for his modesty and optimism, and his belief that Christianity cannot exist without politics. In his capacity as the principal in York, it was evident to everyone that he and the archbishop, John Habgood, were filled with mutual admiration.

Gordon was born in Aldershot, Hampshire, and was the son of Mary (nee O’Brien) and William McGregor. He grew up in a Catholic family that wasn’t affluent and was educated in Catholic schools until he received a scholarship to study at the Bristol University. He graduated with a degree in English in 1953 after which he joined the RAF for his national service, where he gave up his Catholic faith. He took up teaching and worked at the Worcester College for the Blind initially. Gordon later taught in Uganda at King’s College school, Budo, as well as the Makerere University, where he was a lecturer. Eventually, he became a professor of education at the University of Zambia. After ten years, he returned to the UK to spend the rest of his career.

I served as Gordon’s vice-principal at Ripon and York St John from 1980. He was a remarkable individual who often enlivened meetings with his spontaneous quotes. Gordon was patient with others’ weaknesses but quickly noticed their achievements. He made a bold decision to hold the college’s degree congregations in York Minster, demonstrating the college’s academic and Christian identity.

Retiring from his post saw his alma mater, Leeds University, recognized Gordon by naming him as an emeritus professor of education. In addition, he was offered a CBE in 1996, which he humble declined, so that his beliefs in social equality were not compromised. Throughout his life, Gordon authored 12 books on education, received four honorary doctorates, held two visiting professorships, and received various British Council, Unesco, and Foreign and Commonwealth Office commissions.

Gordon leaves behind his wife, Jean Lewis, whom he married in 1957, and their three daughters, Clare, Helen, and Fiona.


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    Bailey Williams is an educational blogger and school teacher who uses her blog as a way to share her insights and knowledge with her readers. She has been teaching for over 10 years and has a deep understanding of the school system and how to help students reach their goals. Her blog is packed full of helpful information and resources, so be sure to check it out if you're looking for help with your schoolwork!