Former Essex Vice-Chancellor and outstanding geographer dies aged 79

  • Date

    Tue 2 Jun 20

Portrait of Ron Johnston

Former Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Ron Johnston OBE has died at the age of 79.

Professor Johnston, who was professor in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol, became Essex’s third Vice-Chancellor when he was appointed in 1992, and served in the position for three years. He was awarded an honorary degree by Essex in 1996.

In 2011 Professor Johnston was awarded an OBE for his services to scholarship, in recognition of his research into electoral and political geography, urban social geography, and the history of human geography.

He joined Essex from the University of Sheffield, where he was Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Professor of Geography. He had previously worked in the Departments of Geography at Monash University, Australia, (1964-1966) and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand (1967-1974).

During his career he received multiple accolades including being honoured by the Royal Geographical Society for his research achievements, and in 2009 receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Geographers. In 1999 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and a Foundation Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies in the Social Sciences.

Paying tribute to Professor Johnston, Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “Professor Johnston was one of the outstanding geographers of his generation. He was also known for his warm spirit, kindness and being an all-round wonderful person. He remained a good friend of the University of Essex over the years and will be sadly missed by many.”