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The Principal of the University of Glasgow is the working head of the University, acting as its chief executive. He is responsible for the day-to-day management of the University as well as its strategic planning and administration. The Principal is appointed by the University Court and is President of the Senate, the University's supreme academic body. The Principal is normally also created Vice-Chancellor of the University, conferring on him the degree-awarding powers of the Chancellor.
From around the foundation of the University in the 15th century there existed the office of the Principal Regent, who was the senior regent of the University, with jurisdiction over the other regents and the students and responsible for day-to-day administration of the College. This office developed over the years, most notably through the Universities (Scotland) Acts, although the Principal remains the chief academic officer of the University, President of the Senate, and is permitted to award degrees by virtue of his status as Vice-Chancellor. Although the office of Principal is an academic post, the Principal himself is not always an academic, as was the case with Sir William Kerr Fraser and Sir Muir Russell.