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University ‘stalwart’ Professor Derek Ogston passes away

Staff and students remember Professor Derek Ogston, his support and contribution to the University of Aberdeen

By: Samira Rauner

Photograph courtesy of UoA

After a 70-year association with the University of Aberdeen, Professor Derek Ogston CBE LLD MD FRSE has passed away following a short illness.

Ogston first enrolled at the University of Aberdeen as a 17-year-old pursuing an Arts degree, after which he went on to graduate with a degree in Medicine in 1957. He became a member of the teaching staff in 1962, Professor of Clinical Medicine in 1983, and was promoted to Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in 1984. From 1988, he served as Vice-Principal until his retirement in 1997.

Following his retirement, Professor Ogston’s support for the University continued through the funding of scholarships and prizes. In 2007, he was presented with an honorary degree for his outstanding contribution to music at the University of Aberdeen.

Remembering Professor Ogston, Professor Phillip Cooke, Head of the Department of Music, said that he, along with his cousin Margaret Carlaw, “has been one of the most significant supporters of music at the University of Aberdeen for many years — his support has not been solely for the Department of Music, but also the Chapel Choir, the installation of the Aubertin organ in 1995 and countless donations to student groups of all shapes and sizes. Through the funding of scholarships and prizes, Derek has contributed to the successes of a generation of music students”.

Professor Cooke stressed that Ogston’s contribution was not limited to funding. “His support ranged from very generous donations to providing the sandwiches for weekly rehearsals — all of which appeared to give him great happiness and satisfaction. He will be greatly missed in all quarters of the department and anywhere where music is made within the University.”

Wolf (centre) with Prof Ogston at his graduation.

Recipient of the Derek Ogston Postgraduate Music Scholarship, Tobias Patrick Wolf, said that Derek’s “support enabled so many students and ensembles to engage in amazing opportunities. I am forever grateful for the invaluable support I have received from Derek throughout my musical journey […]. The musical life at the University and our Orchestra will be different without him and I will fondly remember our wonderful conversations, his warm and kind humour.”

Holly Tristram, a recipient of the Carlaw-Ogston Master of Music Scholarship, said: “I am extremely proud to have been able to meet Derek. A highlight of knowing him was welcoming him to a surprise concert to celebrate his 70th anniversary of association with the University of Aberdeen. He pretended to have a heart attack out of shock — something I will never quite forgive him for!”

“We shared many a joke and chuckle and I always enjoyed getting to have a conversation with him. I am greatly saddened to think that we won’t be able to share those times together again. […] Derek’s generosity has greatly impacted the opportunities available to me during my studies and I will be forever grateful to him and Margaret Carlaw for all that they have done for me. […] Thank you Derek, for everything.”


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