in A history of the University of Manchester 1973–90

In October 1989 Senate and Council heard that Sir Mark Richmond had resigned his office with effect from 30 September 1990. He had presided with stoicism and courage over the most critical years in the University's history, when the position of Vice-Chancellor brought the least pleasure and the most pain. One year after Richmond's departure, Martin Harris, then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Essex, agreed to succeed him, eventually arriving in August 1992. Harris had the formidable task of adjusting to the system of devolved management in the University of Manchester, whose staff was six or seven times larger than that of the University of Essex, where personal government had been much more practicable. An optimist in the Armitage tradition, with great faith in the University's capacity for self-improvement, he aspired above all to raise it to its rightful place in the league table. Oxford, Cambridge, University College London, Imperial College, and perhaps Edinburgh would be hard to overtake, but Manchester should at least be Number Six in the national race for acknowledged excellence in teaching and research.

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