Laureation address – Emeritus Professor Ian W Campbell

Friday 25 June 2010

Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine

Laureation by Professor Hugh MacDougall
Bute Medical School
Friday 25 June 2010

Emeritus Professor Ian W CampbellChancellor, it is my privilege to present Emeritus Professor Ian Campbell, Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, for the Degree of Doctor of Medicine, honoris causa.

Chancellor, I note the clan Campbell is well represented here today – Ian Campbell might be called in the Scottish vernacular “a lad o’ pairts”. He was born in East Wemyss, attended the local primary school and proceeded to Buckhaven High School where he thrived and became Head Boy in 1962. His father was a tenter, responsible for machinery in the large carpet making industry extant in Fife at that time and now all gone. His mother presided over the secure family home.

The transition to the Medical School at the University of Edinburgh was transformational and he won the Stirton Bursary in 1967 for the student with the highest results in the first four years of the MBChB course. He proceeded after graduation to train in medicine with a special interest in diabetes and metabolism and this interest in diabetes has remained with him all his professional life. He was a Pfizer Research Fellow and was given the Duke Endowment Travelling Research Scholarship to the United States in 1973. In 1978 he was appointed Consultant Physician in the Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy. Some might have felt that this busy service job in a small district general hospital might be a mere stepping stone to another more protected academic position but Ian was to remain there for thirty-one years, all his professional life, giving immense service to the community in Fife but also achieving great things in that environment.

Conducting any research in a clinical environment is challenging. Professor Campbell raised £2.5 million for diabetes research in Fife. He has co-authored five text books, has contributed chapters to another thirty-four textbooks and has been the author of approximately one hundred and sixty refereed papers in the medical journals.

To the research gurus, he has an H index of thirty-three and career citations of around five thousand. Such prodigious research output is truly remarkable while continuing to practice full-time in a very busy consultant post in Kirkcaldy and make significant contributions to the management of the NHS both locally and nationally. He has, in addition, always been interested in medical teaching and has consistently contributed to teaching students from Edinburgh and St Andrews in the Victoria Hospital. He was given an honorary professorship in this university in 1996 and in that role he is a medical ambassador for us on many national and international occasions. He made, and continues to make, a major contribution to the teaching of our students.

In summary, Ian Campbell is a very distinguished doctor with an international reputation as an expert in diabetic autonomic neuropathy and in hypoglycaemic agents. His service to the people of Fife, to this university, and to medicine as a whole, has been enormous. In our community and to all ranks and sorts of people he is the “Beloved Physician”.

W H Auden wrote:

Give me a doctor partridge plump,
Short in the leg and broad in the rump,
An endomorph with gentle hands
Who’ll never make absurd demands
That I abandon all my vices
Nor pull a long face in a crisis,
But with a twinkle in his eye
Will tell me that I have to die

And in Underwoods we find:

“There are men and classes of men that stand above the common herd: the soldier, the sailor, and the shepherd not unfrequently; the artist rarely; rarelier still, the clergyman; the physician almost as a rule. He is the flower (such as it is) of our civilization…………
Generosity he has, such as is possible to those who practise an art, discretion tested by a hundred secrets; tact, tried in a thousand embarrassments; and what are more important, Hera-clean cheerfulness and courage”.

Such descriptions give an inkling of the doctor we are honoured to have in our graduation hall today and so, Chancellor, in recognition of his major contribution to the Art and Science of Medicine, I invite you to confer on Ian Campbell the Degree of Doctor of Medicine, honoris causa.

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