Sir David Campbell, President of the General Medical Council, was born at Patna, Ayrshire on 6 May 1889 to Agnes Smith Campbell, a seamstress.
He was educated at Ayr Academy and Glasgow University, where he graduated in 1911 (BSc and MA (Hons)) and 1916 (MB, ChB (Hons)). He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps from 1916-1919, being awarded the Military Cross in France in 1918 as an immediate decoration in the field. On demobilisation he returned to Glasgow as assistant to the renowned Professor Ralph Stockman, and in 1921 became Pollok lecturer in materia medica and pharmacology.
In 1924 he took his MD with honours with a thesis on rheumatoid arthritis, winning the coveted Bellahouston gold medal. Between 1925 and 1930 he was Rockefeller medical fellow at John Hopkins University and also worked in the Western Infirmary in Glasgow . In 1928 he published A Handbook of Therapeutics.
In 1930 David was appointed to the regius chair of materia medica at Aberdeen and within two years was Dean of Faculty – and he held this post until his retirement in 1959. He influenced the creation of an imaginative medical facility at Foresterhill in Aberdeen by including the clinical and related departments of the university. In 1936 David joined the General Medical Council (GMC) as the representative of Aberdeen University and became President of the GMC in 1949.
He left the GMC in 1961. David was knighted in 1953 and received honorary degrees from universities such as Glasgow , Liverpool and Dublin . He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Royal Colleges of Physicians of London and also Glasgow.
In 1921, David married Margaret, daughter of Alexander Lyle, head teacher at Kerse near Grangemouth. David died – without issue – at his home in Aberdeen on 30 May 1978.