A former principal and chancellor of Glasgow University has passed away.

Sir William Kerr Fraser, also one of the foremost public servants of his generation, died on Wednesday at the age of 89.

Born in Glasgow in 1929 he was the first member of his family to attend the university before joining the RAF on a three year commission.

Entering the civil service in 1955 he rose through the ranks until his appointment as Permanent Under-Secretary of State in the Scottish Office between 1978 and 1988.

He was then appointed principal of Glasgow University at a time of significant change in higher education with pressure on funding and the requirement for greater accountability.

Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, the university’s current principal, described Sir William as a “remarkable man and a tremendous servant” of the institution.

He said: “Without doubt, negotiating pathways and thriving through this time of pressure and transformation would not have been possible without Sir William’s leadership and personal qualities.

“ A man of immense integrity, sense of duty, commitment to inclusive and consensual decision-making, he was trusted and commanded respect across the university community.

“Above all else, at heart, he was driven by an immense sense of affection and loyalty to the university.”

Sir William became chancellor of the university in 1996, a role he held until 2006.

Sir William’s affection for Glasgow was shared by his wife Lady Marion Fraser who died in 2016.

Sir William was awarded an honorary degree by the university in 1982 and received a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1979 and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1984.

Sir Anton added: “I was very fortunate to be able to turn to Sir William for advice since he retired as chancellor ... drawing on his wisdom and extensive experience.

“I am also very grateful for his and Lady Marion’s unstinting and ever-present support during my time as principal.

“As we mourn his passing, we should also reflect on and celebrate a life of consummate public service and pay tribute to the debt the University of Glasgow owes to one of its greatest and most distinguished servants.”