The deputy of a rector in a university, college, or other institution of higher education; a vice-rector.
Originally used with reference to similarly titled posts in non-English-speaking countries (as an equivalent of German Prorektor, etc.); later also in Scottish universities, and subsequently elsewhere.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Fynes Moryson (?1566–1630), traveller and writer. From post-classical Latin prorector from pro- + rector.