‘Exceptional’ Edinburgh Geography professor dresses up as Darth Vader for his last ever lecture

Cruising into retirement at light speed


Christmas came early for Edinburgh Geography students as their professor, Charles Withers, taught his final lecture dressed as not quite Father Christmas, but Darth Vader.

Photos posted on Twitter showed Withers wielding his lightsaber as he cut shapes through the tectonic plates.

Charles Withers is highly-regarded academic, being a holder of the prestigious Ogilvie Chair of Geography at the School of Geosciences, but this didn't stop him showing his students his dark side in his last ever lecture, letting the whole world know what an avid Star Wars fan he really is.

He went all out, entering the hall to the accompaniment of the Imperial March all in an attempt to make his final lecture more memorable for everyone involved.

Fortunately, Withers' colleague Fraser MacDonald snapped some picture and them online for all to see, also clarifying that Professor Withers remained in costume for the entire class, removing only the helmet due to "humidity" issues. The moment he removed his helmet in between slides was even more dramatic than the final scene of Return of the Jedi.

"Darth Withers" can be seen clenching his fist as world map appears on the projector screen setting an eerie pose fit for the character.

Fourth year Geography student Tricia Ma described Professor Withers as "genuinely one of the most memorable lecturers, a very wise man who’s given us such a great insight into Geography".

Her course mate Joseph Bashford agreed, telling The Tab Edinburgh: "He is a top lad. I will never forget when he tasted soil in our lecture to prove a point about truth and knowledge.”

Professor Withers is also a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and was the first Geographer Royal for Scotland for 118 years and was awarded his title by Princess Anne.

Withers said on Monday: "It was just a bit of fun at the end of my lecturing career".