The executive head of a university is the generic term that covers the vice-chancellor, president, principal or rector, irrespective of what the individual title may be.
The vice-chancellor, president, etc, of a university is addressed according to rank and name. If the subject of the letter concerns the university, the style of 'Dear Vice-Chancellor' may be used.
In newer universities it is more usual to write to him or her by name.
In Cambridge the correct formal title for the Vice-Chancellor is 'The Right Worshipful the Vice-Chancellor' (this also applies to a female Vice-Chancellor). In Oxford the correct formal title for the Vice-Chancellor is 'The Reverend the Vice-Chancellor' (irrespective of whether he/she is in Holy Orders).
Some Scottish universities appoint a joint vice-chancellor and principal, in which case he/she is addressed as 'Principal'.
How to Address an Executive Head of a University, including a Vice-Chancellor
The recommended style of address is:
|Beginning of letter||Dear Sir Henry; Dear Dr Jones, etc, or Dear Vice-Chancellor, Principal, Rector, etc (particularly when writing on matters concerning his/her university)|
|Envelope||The Vice-Chancellor, The University of X or Sir Philip Jones, CBE, LLD, Vice-Chancellor of The University of X|
|Verbal address||By name, or Vice-Chancellor|