John Butterfield, Baron Butterfield

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John Butterfield, by Mark Gerson, 1982

William John Hughes Butterfield, Baron Butterfield, OBE, FRCP (28 March 1920 – 22 July 2000) was a leading British medical researcher, clinician and administrator.

Butterfield was educated at Solihull School, an historic independent school in the West Midlands. Whilst at Solihull he was Head Boy, Head of CCF and captain of rugby, cricket, hockey and athletics. He continued his sporting passions while studying at Oxford, becoming a triple blue. He then benefited from a two-year Rockefeller Foundation Scholar grant to study at Johns Hopkins University, where he gained a further medical degree. After this, national military service awaited him. He spent it as an officer in the Army Physiological Unit and Deputy Director for Scientific Research. He subsequently returned to the United States, to a fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia at Richmond.

Over the years he was appointed to many commissions in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1953.[1] Among his professional research interests was diabetes mellitus. His appointments included one as Professor of Experimental Medicine at Guy's Hospital. In 1970 he was invited to accept the position of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham.

In 1976 he was appointed Regius Professor of Physic at the University of Cambridge, and in 1978 was knighted.[2] That same year he was elected Master of Downing College, Cambridge, where he was a popular figure. Even after retirement from the post, his links with his adopted College persisted and he did what he could to further its interests. The College bar at Downing is named after him. The Mastership of Downing led to a term also as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. He was made a life peer in 1988 as Baron Butterfield, of Stechford in the County of West Midlands.[3]



Academic offices
Preceded by
Frederick Dainton
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham
Succeeded by
Basil Weedon
Preceded by
Sir Morien Bedford Morgan
Master of Downing College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Peter Mathias
Preceded by
Sir Francis Harry Hinsley
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Succeeded by
Richard Hume Adrian