TRIBUTES have been paid to a former Essex University Vice-Chancellor who has died aged 79.

Professor Ron Johnston OBE became the university's third Vice-Chancellor when he was appointed in 1992.

He served in the role for three years and was later awarded an honorary degree in 1996.

During his career Prof Johnston worked at the University of Bristol, University of Sheffield, Monash University, Australia, and University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

In 2011 Prof Johnston was awarded an OBE for his services to scholarship, in recognition of his research into electoral and political geography, urban social geography, and the history of human geography.

During his career he received multiple accolades including being honoured by the Royal Geographical Society for his research achievements, and in 2009 receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Geographers.

In 1999 he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy and a Foundation Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies in the Social Sciences.

Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “Professor Johnston was one of the outstanding geographers of his generation.

"He was also known for his warm spirit, kindness and being an all-round wonderful person.

"He remained a good friend of the University of Essex over the years and will be sadly missed by many.”