Professor Kealey, who has led the university for the past 13 years, announced he was stepping down today, the last day of the institution’s term. He will continue to be involved in Buckingham’s fund-raising campaigns, a statement said.
“My time at Buckingham has been wonderful and I have been supported by some fabulous colleagues,” Professor Kealey said.
“But the university is flourishing so now would be good time to leave, and I have a big research project to complete, namely the work on the economics of science I am pursuing with colleagues at Buckingham and at the Cato Institute in Washington DC, and the effort that that requires is not compatible with the demands of a vice-chancellorship, so I am slipping from one harness into another.”
He added that the university was “like a big family” to him.
Professor Kealey trained initially in medicine at Bart’s Hospital Medical School, London, before specialising in clinical biochemistry. He studied for his doctorate at the University of Oxford, where he worked first as a Medical Research Council training fellow and then as a Wellcome Trust senior research fellow in clinical science.
He went on to lecture in the department of clinical biochemistry at the University of Cambridge for 13 years, before leaving to join Buckingham.
Buckingham’s chairman of council, Robert Vanderplank, said: “Those of us who knew the university in 2000 when Professor Kealey was appointed often ask ourselves whether it would even still exist were it not for his tireless and dedicated work.
“Universities these days ask a great deal of their vice-chancellors, not only in day-to-day management, but also by the constant stream of outward-facing activities with donors, friends, potential students, alumni and collaborating institutions.
“Professor Kealey has been a wonderful champion for the university, enhancing our reputation all over the world.”
Deputy vice-chancellor, Alistair Alcock, will act as vice-chancellor until a permanent appointment is made, the university said.