Reporter 424, 5 October 1998

Duchess steps down as University Chancellor

HRH the Duchess of Kent is standing down as Chancellor of the University. Announcing the news, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Wilson, said: “Throughout three decades of rapid change, the Duchess of Kent has provided a key element of continuity in our affairs.

“She has always been an unflagging supporter for the University, acting as an ambassador for us, particularly on the international stage; and she has always had a particular concern for students, individually and as a body.

“Her many visits to the University, both to award degrees and to see work at departmental level, are remembered with great affection by generations of students, their families and our staff.”

The Duchess was installed as Chancellor in May 1966, and her term of office has seen greater changes than any other period in the University’s history. Student numbers have more than trebled, from 7,160 to about 23,000 today, far beyond even the most ambitious of expansion plans.

There has been significant academic restructuring, with the emergence of new faculties and research schools, as well as interdisciplinary centres studying areas almost unknown in 1966. Organisationally, too, there have been profound changes: it was not until 1974, for example, that there was any significant elected component – or indeed student representation – on Senate.

The Pro-Chancellor, Colonel Alan Roberts, added: “Leeds can count itself singularly fortunate to have had Her Royal Highness as its Chancellor.

“Her sympathetic interest and involvement in the life of the University has been greatly appreciated, and will certainly be missed.”

The Duchess’s successor will be appointed under the terms of the University’s Charter by Court on the nomination of Council. Council is expected to establish a committee to advise it on a nomination.

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