Ex-university registrar Dr Martin Lowe dies

DR Martin Lowe, a former secretary and registrar to St Andrews University and latterly Edinburgh University, has died at his home in Gullane after a short illness. He was 71.

Tributes have been paid to Scots-born Dr Lowe, who was awarded the OBE in 2002 for services to higher education.

He began his schooling in Dorking, Surrey, and later attended Dunfermline High School, before becoming a student at St Andrews University where he graduated BSc (Hons) Geology in 1962 and PhD Faculty of Science in 1966. During his undergraduate days he also served as president of the university’s Students’ Union from 1963-64.

After leaving university he spent four years with the British Council, principally in Tanzania and South India.

In 1969 he joined Strathclyde University where he was secretary to the Senate and served on a number of administrative bodies, including the Scottish Universities Council on Entrance and the Universities Central Council on Admissions and acted as consultant in aspects of university administration overseas.

In 1981 Dr Lowe returned to St Andrews University to take up the position of secretary and registrar and clerk and registrar to the General Council.


He was a member of the business committee of the General Council and various working groups, and was until recently the General Council representative on the 600th anniversary steering group. He was instrumental in the recent General Council gift of £80,000 to the library redevelopment project which funded four study rooms for students.

Dr Lowe, who moved to Edinburgh University in 1989, had long-standing family connections with St Andrews – his wife Janet is an alumna, while his father and sister studied there, as did three of his four children.

An enthusiastic piper, he was well-known in piping circles and served on the board of the National Piping Centre.


He played the highland pipes, Scottish small pipes and border pipes and was the official piper of St Andrews University’s Chancellor, Sir Menzies Campbell, leading the procession prior to the installation ceremony of principal and vice chancellor Dr Louise Richardson in 2009.

He was honorary secretary of the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society for 14 years, with only a two-year break when he fulfilled the role of honorary pipe major, and also an active member of The Glasgow Highland Club.

He served as chairman of the Lowland and Borders Pipers’ Society, as a trustee and member of the East Lothian Pipes and Drums Trust, and was a member of the Army Piping Committee. He was invited to join the board of the National Piping Centre in 1999 specifically to assist the principal, Roddy MacLeod, in matters relating to the development of its higher education activities.

Dr Lowe also assisted with the development of highly successful semester courses for overseas students with the universities of Glasgow, St Andrews and Edinburgh.

One friend said:”Martin was a wonderful man who was incredibly supportive of piping and education in Scotland.”

Dr Lowe is survived by his wife, Janet, and four children, Andrew, Shona, Robert and Donald.