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[Photo: Dr Bob Borthwick] Respected and popular with staff and students alike 

Dr Bob Borthwick retires

Bob Borthwick was appointed back in 1963 and served forty years in the Department of Politics. The Department organized a dinner in June at which colleagues past and present were able to say goodbye and also an event attended by students. In September colleagues and friends joined together to wish him well for the future at a reception in the Senior Common Room in the Charles Wilson Building.

Bob is an extraordinary person. He is kind, conscientious, good humoured, and during his period in the Department was greatly loved and respected by students and colleagues alike. He was well-known and popular throughout the University community. 

Bob was justly famed for his formidable grasp of detail. He knew the names of all the students and the degrees they were taking, and could be relied upon to have the answer to queries. He came in early and left late, and always seemed available in his office whenever anyone called.
PRESENT WITH BEST WISHES: Bob Borthwick, pictured here with colleagues and his wife Carol, received the gift of a cheque from University staff at his retirement reception on September 16. He intends to pursue his interest in ornithology and will use his gift to purchase a telescope for bird watching.

He was an excellent lecturer and teacher. His lectures were humorous and down to earth; well organised and immensely popular. One student declared that he was only lecturer worth getting out of bed for! 

Another student wrote to say how much he enjoyed his time in the Department and that Bob ‘had always demonstrated great understanding and the ability to be even handed, when dealing with people and their problems’. In this student’s view, Bob’s greatest contribution to university life has been his enthusiasm, good humour, understanding of students’ difficulties ‘and your ability irrespective of the circumstances to make students feel that they have been dealt with fairly and with respect. Yours will be a tough act to follow’. As a mature student with a very difficult philosophy of life to Bob’s, he found it a great privilege to have been associated with Bob during his time at Leicester.

Bob concentrated on administration and teaching towards the end of career in the Department but was a thorough and lucid researcher. He worked primarily on British politics and has an astonishing grasp of the committee system in the British House of Commons. He published a piece in 1997 in a book that Dr Laura Brace and I edited on Sovereignty, and his exposition on the powers of parliament still reads very well today.

He will be sorely missed by all his colleagues in the Department and by the University as a whole. He was a University Public Orator from 1995 to 1998. As for the Department, it has a confession to make. We were told by one external examiner that he and Ms Renie Lewis must never be allowed to retire. Renie, thank goodness, is still with us, but we have gone against this instruction and allowed Bob to retire!

It goes without saying that we wish Bob a long and happy retirement, and pass on our very best wishes to Carol, his wife, herself a former student of the Politics Department.

John Hoffman

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Last updated: 28 October 2003 11:30
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