Saluting Professor David Watson

We are very sorry to relate that Professor David Watson died February 8, 2015, following a brief illness.  A dynamic and highly influential champion of university civic engagement, his passing is a huge loss to his colleagues around the world.  A compelling advocate of the engaged university, he was both a prolific researcher of higher education and a visionary innovator in reshaping the academy.  We will miss him immensely.

David was Principal at Green Templeton College of Oxford University.  He previously served as Professor of Higher Education at the Institute of Education, University of London (2005-2010), and as Vice-Chancellor of Brighton University (1992-2005).  While at Brighton, he led the creation of the Community University Partnership Programme (CUPP), which has been a major source of inspiration and guidance to universities across the globe. He was knighted in 1998 for his distinguished leadership in higher education.

Writer of numerous books and over 400 articles, book chapters and reviews, David initiated and was lead author of The Engaged University:  International Perspectives on Civic Education. He organized this book as a collaboration with 20 Talloires Network member institutions.  As a result, it not only advanced knowledge, but also reinforced the civic work of many universities and helped to build our global coalition.  Last fall, he was elected to the Talloires Network Steering Committee.

Green Templeton College has posted this tribute:

He was an energetic ‘hands-on’ head of house who was involved in every aspect of College life. He demonstrated outstanding dedication in his leadership of the College’s dynamic, influential and friendly community of students, fellows and staff, which focuses on understanding the issues of managing human welfare in the modern world. His legacy to Green Templeton is enormous.

See also the obituary published by Times Higher Education, to which David was a regular contributor. As we mourn David’s passing, let us also reflect on his legacy – how has his writing and his organizational leadership contributed to our individual and collective efforts?  And how can we best honor and sustain his legacy going forward?

Rob Hollister
Executive Director, Talloires Network