Born in Inverness in 1959, Charles Kennedy was brought up and educated just outside Fort William, before attending Glasgow University. Following his graduation in 1982, he worked as a journalist and broadcaster with BBC Highland in Inverness.
He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to attend Indiana University in the United States and in 1983 he was working towards a PhD at Indiana when the opportunity arose to seek the SDP nomination for the newly formed Ross, Cromarty and Skye seat.
He won the nomination, subsequently the election, and in 1983 became the youngest Member of Parliament at the age of 23.
Charles Kennedy was elected the UK Liberal Democrats' Party President, the equivalent of party chairman, in 1990, and served in that post until 1994. In August 1999 he was elected as the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, and he was appointed to the Privy Council in October 1999.
In his six years as Leader he took the Liberal Democrats from strength to strength in local and national politics, taking some fundamental and hugely difficult political decisions.
He also took the Liberal Democrats to their most successful election performance for some 80 years when they returned 62 MPs in May 2005. He stood down as Leader of the Party in January 2006.
In September 2007 Charles Kennedy was unanimously elected President of the European Movement in Britain. Following a keenly fought election, he was elected as Rector of Glasgow University early in 2008.
5 MacGregor's Court