2017 Rectorial profiles: Willie Rennie


Where are you from? Scotland

Occupations Member of Scottish Parliament

Education Mr Rennie attended high school in Cupar, Fife, before attending the Paisley College of Technology where he earned a B.Sc. degree in Biology. He went on to receive a Diploma in Industrial Administration at Glasgow College.

Family He and his wife, Janet, have two sons, Alexander and Stephen.

Hobbies In his free time, Mr Rennie runs marathons. He ran a mile to raise support and money for Sports Relief, and finished close behind the winner. In a 2016 BBC interview, Mr Rennie said that he “love[s] Forrest Gump,” perhaps speaking to their shared interest in running.

Where did he grow up? Mr Rennie grew up in a Fife village, living above the shop his father ran. He enjoyed village festivities such as highland games and Sunday School.

When he was your age If Mr Rennie wins the Rectorial Election, it will not be his first time representing students. While he was a student at the Paisley College of Technology, he was the deputy president of the student union. He also ran Liberal Youth Scotland, then known as the Scottish Young Liberal Democrats, followed his work with the English Liberal Democrats upon graduation.

What has he done? Mr Rennie’s experience has spanned from working on campaigns to acting as communication consultant. Before becoming a Member of Parliament (2006-2010), he worked as a private public relations consultant. While much of his time has been spent working for the Liberal Democrats, he has held many different roles and consulted on a range of issues. A few areas for which he campaigned include laws to protect female learner drivers from sexual offenders, the abolishment of bridge tolls, and cancer services. After his service as a Member of Parliament, he served as the special advisor to the new Liberal Democrat Scottish Secretary Michael Moore.

What is he doing now? Mr Rennie has been involved in politics for much of his life. Currently, he represents the Mid-Scotland and Fife regions as a Member of Scottish Parliament. When he was elected, he was the only new Liberal Democratic to win a new seat. He ran to stop “the divisive second independence referendum.” During his campaign he stood up to the “SNP bulldozer” majority, as well as against Scottish Liberal Democrats who wanted to be more removed from the UK Liberal Democratic Party.

Honors and awards In April 2014, Mr Rennie was appointed as an honorary patron of Armed Forces Legal Action (AFLA).

Why do you do what you do? “Because I care. I would not feel settled doing anything else. I care about people who get left behind and can’t speak up for themselves. People who need mental health support, a better education, and a decent home; or human rights activists in oppressive states. Public office is the best way to make the world a better place to live.”

Who inspires you? “People who are driven and do not stop but do so with style. People like Shirley Williams, Sophie Dow who set up Mindroom, Vaclav Havel and, of course, Nelson Mandela.”What do you do in your free time? “Run up and down hills. I enjoy time with my wife and two sons – Ali, 21 and Stephen, 13.”

What attribute that you have makes you suited to be Rector? “I listen, carefully, and act.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.