Geoffrey Holland

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Sir Geoffrey Holland
Born(1938-05-09)9 May 1938
North Surrey
Died20 April 2017(2017-04-20) (aged 78)
OccupationCivil servant, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter from 1994-2002
Spouse(s)Carol Challen
Parent(s)Frank Holland

Sir Geoffrey Holland, KCB (9 May 1938 – 20 April 2017) was a career civil servant who became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter from 1994 to 2002, when he was succeeded by Professor Steve Smith. Holland Hall, a large student hall of residence which opened in 2004 on the Exeter campus is named after him.

Early life[edit]

Holland was born on 9 May 1938 to Frank Holland CBE and his wife Elsie Freda Holland.[1] His father was a civil servant for London County Council. Both parents came from the Potteries in north Staffordshire.

He was educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood on a scholarship and spent two years in the Royal Tank Regiment for National Service, becoming a Second Lieutenant. He received a first class BA honours degree in Modern Languages from St John's College, Oxford.


He joined the Ministry of Labour in 1961, working as a civil servant until the 1990s in the Department of Employment, becoming the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education (DFE) from 1993-4. He was knighted in 1989. In 1994 he became VC of the University of Exeter. He was a member of the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education that published an influential report in 1997.[2]

In August 2003, he was appointed Chair of the Learning and Skills Development Agency. In 2006, he was appointed Chair of the Quality Improvement Agency.

From 1998-2000 he was President of the IPD. In 2008 he became President of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

Personal life[edit]

In 1964 he married Carol Challen.

He died on 20 April 2017 at the age of 78.[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "HOLLAND, Sir Geoffrey". Who's Who 2015. A & C Black. November 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Higher Education in the learning society: Main Report". Education England. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  3. ^ Sir Geoffrey Holland KCB
Academic offices
Preceded by
Sir David Harrison
Vice-Chancellor of the
University of Exeter

Succeeded by
Professor Steve Smith