Longest Serving Member of the Board

by MSO

Although he has been dead since 1832, Jeremy Bentham still attends board meetings regularly.

“The question is not; can they reason, nor; can they talk, but rather; can they suffer.”

English philosopher and the “father of utilitarianism”, Jeremy Bentham’s ideas often underpinned the establishment of University College London where he devoted his time to studying and writing. Born into incredible wealth, he often donated to the university and further developed his principles of utilitarianism.

Laying out detailed accounts of political democracy in the “Constitutional Code” arguing for universal suffrage and advocating the abolition of monarchy and the House of Lords; and further suggested the rigorous examination of politicians and government officials so as to remind them they were “servants of the public, not their masters”.

Upon his death, he left his entire estate to the university under one condition; his body be embalmed and wheeled into the universities board meetings. However, during the embalming process, his head was damaged and a wax head was made as a replacement.

While the real head was kept in a case for many years, students kept stealing it for pranks, resulting in the university locking it away in a vault.

To this day, Bentham’s body attends every board meeting, however, in the minutes he is listed as “present, but not voting.”

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