Frank Gould, 1937-2008

June 19, 2008

Frank Gould, the former vice-chancellor of the University of East London who saw the institution through both good times and bad, has died after a long battle with cancer.

Professor Gould, who led the institution from 1992 to 2001, died on 3 June, aged 70.

In 1988, he joined what was then the Polytechnic of East London as pro rector, having worked at Kingston Polytechnic as lecturer in economics, at the Central London Polytechnic as principal lecturer in economics and at Leeds Polytechnic as assistant director.

Alan Ingle, the university's secretary and registrar, recalled that in the early days of Professor Gould's leadership, UEL enjoyed expanding student numbers, sound finances and a growing reputation with the then Higher Education Quality Council.

On taking up the vice-chancellor position, Professor Gould set out his vision of UEL as a major player in the social and economic regeneration of East London. "The formal opening of the Docklands campus by the new Mayor of London in July 2000 marked the high point in the realisation of this vision," Mr Ingle said. "With its iconic set of buildings creating a major new landmark in East London, the campus stands as a fitting memorial to Professor Gould's time."

However, a downturn in student numbers at the same time as UEL was investing so heavily in its estate had financial consequences. As the funding gap rose to £2.5 million, UEL was put under emergency supervision by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

"This set a challenging agenda for Professor Gould's successor and his management team," Mr Ingle said.

Professor Gould's departure from UEL in 2001 was not without controversy. Times Higher Education reported at the time that he was paid £189,000 in his final year - 60 per cent more than he earned the previous year. He was one of 17 leaders whose pay rises were investigated by Hefce. After he retired, he was kept on by the university for a short time as a consultant.

Christine Hodgson, who was UEL press officer under Professor Gould's leadership, recalled a retiring figure and a "sympathetic boss who always listened". "He was a very private man, not a flamboyant character, but he was very straightforward to work for. He quietly pushed things through and didn't take the credit for them," she said.

Professor Gould had a great love of music and was fond of hosting orchestral concerts at the university. The annual brass-band concert was a highlight of every year and always played to a full house. Piano recitals were also favoured. One of his daughters, Clio Gould, is a professional violinist.

He is survived by his wife, Lesley, and three children.

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