Principal and Vice-Chancellor pays tribute to Emilio Botin

10 September 2014

Principal and Vice-Chancellor pays tribute to Emilio Botin

Chairman Botin was considered one of the most influential Spaniards of his generation

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) was deeply saddened to hear that Emilio Botin, Executive Chairman of Santander Bank, has passed away.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE said: “I am so very sad to hear of the sudden loss of Chairman Botin. He was a man of great vision and ability who cared deeply about Higher Education. Last month, in his speech in Rio de Janeiro at the Universia Conference for University Rectors from around the world, he inspired us with his recognition of the power of education to transform lives, to promote social justice and to stimulate social innovation.

“Whilst many will rightly applaud Emilio Botin’s legacy to the banking sector, for me it was his founding of the Santander Universities Network and his passionate commitment to opening up educational opportunities through scholarships in the network’s Universities, numbering more than one thousand, which deserves to be specially remembered.

“Glasgow Caledonian University was honoured indeed to host a Masterclass with Mr Botin and his daughter Ana some years ago and we are proud to be a member of the Universia Network which, I am sure, will continue to operate as active testimony to Emilio Botin’s compelling vision.”

The University has been a member of the Universia network for five years and our students have benefited from over £350,000 worth of Santander funding, through which 135 students and colleagues have been able to travel and study overseas on Scholarships.

Emilio Botin, born in Santander on the northern coast of Spain, oversaw the rise of his family’s bank, Grupo Santander, from a provincial lender in northern Spain to become an international giant through a series of acquisitions. In 1993, Santander absorbed Bank Banesto and later merged with Banco Central Hispano to create Santander Central Hispano. In 2004, BSCH acquired Abbey National, the British bank, to become the second largest in Europe. He was considered one of the most influential Spaniards of his generation and the University sends its sincere condolences to his family.