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Obituary: Dr Ruth Thompson

Deputy Chair of Governors

Birkbeck's Deputy Chair of Governors, Dr Ruth Thompson, who died on 9 July 2016 aged 63, was first appointed an independent Governor of the College in 2009, after she retired as Director-General for Higher Education in the then Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

A career civil servant, she also worked in senior roles in the Department of Trade and Industry, HM Treasury and the Department of Social Security. In 2011-12 she was interim Chief Executive of Partnerships for Schools, a non-departmental public body of the Department for Education.

Ruth Thompson was a member of the Higher Education Policy Institute, and in 2014 she co-chaired an inquiry for the Higher Education Commission on the future financial sustainability of higher education. She was also a Governor of Staffordshire University and a Board member of London TravelWatch.

At Birkbeck, Ruth was a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee and of the Remuneration Committee and she took on the Deputy Chair role in 2014. She led the Review of Governor Effectiveness in 2013 and co-chaired the Review of the Department of Economics, Mathematics and Statistics in 2015.

"Ruth made an enormous contribution to Birkbeck in her time as a Governor, combining her tremendous intelligence and analytical skills with good humour," said Professor David Latchman CBE, Master of Birkbeck.