Sir Gordon Hobday, 1916-2015

Sir Gordon Ivan Hobday, a leading British scientist, former Chancellor and graduate of The University of Nottingham, has died aged 99.

Sir Gordon worked with pharmacologist, Sir Alexander Fleming on the discovery of the antibiotic, penicillin. He joined Boots in Nottingham as a research chemist in 1939 and, in 1952, was director of the research team that developed the anti-inflammatory drug, ibruprofen.

In a distinguished career, spanning more than 40 years, he rose to become Chairman and Chief Executive of Boots, before retiring in 1981.

Born in Sawley, Derbyshire, on 1 February 1916, Sir Gordon was educated at Long Eaton Grammar School, Derbyshire. He graduated from the University of Nottingham (known then as University College, Nottingham) in 1937 with a first-class honours degree in chemistry and later a PhD in biochemistry research. In 1977, Sir Gordon received an honorary Doctors of Laws degree from the University of Nottingham for his contribution to science and the pharmaceutical industry. He was knighted in 1979. As Lord Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire (1983-91), 4th Chancellor of The University of Nottingham (1978-92) and Chairman of ATV Midlands (later Central Television) he continued to play a significant role in public life in the county.

Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice Chancellor, said: “Sir Gordon Hobday was a proud graduate and honorary graduate, who served as our Chancellor for almost 15 years, working with two of our six Vice-Chancellors, Dr Basil Weedon and Sir Colin Campbell. He had a life-long interest in the University and visited on a number of occasions in recent years in support of our public engagement programme. He will be remembered fondly by many in the wider University community who worked closely with him.”

Image: Sir Gordon Hobday (1916-2015), 4th Chancellor of The University of Nottingham (1978-1993) oil on canvas, 1980, by Norman Hepple RA RP

Collection: The University of Nottingham. Copyright: the artists’s estate

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