Obituary: Sir Richard Norman

Richard Oswald Chandler Norman, chemist: born 27 April 1932; Fellow and Tutor, Merton College, Oxford 1958-65 (Hon Fellow 1988); University Lecturer in Chemistry, Oxford University 1958- 65; Professor of Chemistry, York University 1965-87; seconded as Chief Scientific Adviser, MoD 1983-1988; Kt 1987; Rector, Exeter College, Oxford 1987-93; Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Energy 1988-1993; books include Principles of Organic Synthesis 1968, Modern Organic Chemistry (with DJ Waddington) 1972; married 1982 Jennifer Tope; died Oxford 6 June 1993.

ALTHOUGH the last five years have not been easy ones for universities, the Fellows of Exeter College, Oxford, have counted themselves fortunate in their Rector, Richard Norman, writes W. B. Steward.

The college has been firmly led to strategic decisions, and difficulties squarely faced; those who have had to implement decisions have always had the Rector's strong support. Routine committee work, though, has been severely pruned: college officers soon learnt that if their meetings lasted much beyond the hour then they had clearly failed to produce a sensible agenda. The brevity of the meetings of Exeter's governing body became legendary; few chairmen have carried off with such aplomb 'too complex a question for discussion in so large a forum' and 'too trivial for us to discuss here'.

But with this brisk approach to college business went a deep concern for the members of the college, their academic progress, their sporting successes, and their plays and concerts. With characteristic enthusiasm, when he saw that the college must develop a vigorous graduate school, Norman himself served as tutor for graduates. As such, he delighted in selecting as wide a range of graduate students as he could, and in pressing on his colleagues not only the need for graduate facilities but also the special needs of individuals.

It is not, of course, only for his administrative gifts that a Head of House is valued. All members of the college will remember with pleasure and affection the generous hospitality dispensed in the Lodgings by Dick and Jenny. The Rector's Garden has been entirely remade, a source of great joy and pride to them both. At the Rector's insistence the college has begun to turn the Margary Quadrangle into the quiet green space originally envisaged by its architects, Lionel Brett and Francis Pollen, in the 1960s; it is sad that he has not lived to see the transformation.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments