Our President in 1985/86 was:

The Right Hon. Lord Swann

He proposed the Toast to Sir Walter at our 78th Annual Dinner on Friday 7th March 1986 in The North British Hotel, Edinburgh

Read the text of his address here

Michael Meredith Swann, Baron Swann, FRS, FRSE (1 March 1920 – 22 September 1990) was a British molecular and cell biologist. He was appointed chairman of the BBC, awarded a knighthood and subsequently a life peerage.

He was born in Cambridge, the eldest of three children of pathologist Meredith Blake Robson Swann and his wife, Marjorie Dykes.

He was educated at King's College School, Cambridge, and then at Winchester College, a boarding independent school for boys in the city of Winchester in Hampshire, where he was an Exhibitioner. He then studied Zoology at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated MA.

He served with the British Army during World War II, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and being Mentioned in Dispatches. From 1946 Swann lectured in zoology at the University of Cambridge, his former Alma Mater.

He moved to Edinburgh University as Professor of Natural History in 1952. In 1953 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were James Ritchie, John Gaddum, Sir Maurice Yonge and Harold Callan. He won the Society's Makdougall Brisbane Prize for 1970/72. In 1962 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.

His academic work was on the mechanisms of cell division and fertilisation. He used cell polarisation methods to understand the changes in molecular organisation of the mitotic spindle. With his collaborator Murdoch Mitchison, he found evidence in support of a new theory of cell division. He collaborated with Victor Rothschild in experiments on changes in membrane structure during fertilisation.

From 1965 to 1974, he was the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh University. In 1968, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Leicester. During his term as Principal, he encountered difficulty with students led by Gordon Brown who had unusually been elected as Rector of the University. He received a knighthood in the 1972 Birthday Honours, having the honour conferred by the Queen herself on 5 December 1972.

He was Chairman of the Governors of the BBC from 1973 to 1980 having been appointed by Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath, who admired his strong leadership during student protests at Edinburgh University. He was created a life peer as Baron Swann, of Coln St Denys in the County of Gloucestershire on 16 February 1981. In 1980 Swann became Provost of Oriel College, although he resigned after nine months, and was also Chancellor of the University of York from 1979 until his death.

He died in London on 22 September 1990.

Text source: wikipedia