The Jewish former vice chancellor of South Bank University London has died aged 81.
Professor Gerald Bernbaum passed away on September 16 after suffering from cancer.
According to his former colleague Andy Masheter, “it was no surprise to learn that at the very end of his struggle he refused medication, so that he could appreciate the examination results of his grandchildren.
“Family was everything to him.”
Prof Bernbaum began his career as assistant master at Mitcham County Grammar School for Boys in 1958.
He became a lecturer of education at the University of Leicester in 1964, before moving into administration as the university’s pro-vice Chancellor in 1985.
In 1993 he moved to South Bank University to become vice-chancellor and chief executive.
Professor Bernbaum, born in 1936, was “a larger than life figure” according to Mr Masheter.
“His remarkable journey took him from the streets of Stepney to heading up one of London’s largest and most diverse universities.”
He dedicated his life to education.
"I worked for him throughout his time at the university,” Mr Masheter said, “and he managed to combine clarity of vision and great determination with a tremendous sense of fun - no easy task.
“More than anything, he gave South Bank the confidence to move forwards as a modern university, establishing research chairs in every faculty and school.”
He was responsible for creating a central campus for the university and engaged with businesses as part of the regeneration of the Elephant and Castle area of London.
The professor told colleagues that one of his proudest accomplishments was the establishment of a sports department at the university.
Mr Masheter said: “It reflected his life-long love affair with cricket and football, most particularly Spurs.”
He is survived by his sons Kevin and Anthony, his partner Margaret, his daughter-in-law Elizabeth and grandchildren.