University of Southampton delighted to appoint dual Chancellors

Justine Greening and Lord Patel of Bradford have been appointed as Chancellors of the University of Southampton.

This is the first time the university has appointed dual Chancellors, with the pair succeeding comedian Ruby Wax.

The Chancellor is the principal lay officer of the University, with a key feature of this ambassadorial and ceremonial role involving presiding over degree ceremonies at graduation.

Professor Mark E. Smith, Vice-Chancellor, said: "We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Ruby Wax for her support and enthusiasm as our Chancellor. She has always been hugely well-received by graduating students and staff as Presiding Officer at our Graduation ceremonies.

"I look forward to working with our dual Chancellors in support of our growth and continued success. They bring expansive knowledge, insight and networks in areas of deep interest to us and a clear and welcome interest in connecting with the people who are at the heart of our world-class university."

Justine studied at the University of Southampton and graduated with first class honours in 1990 with a degree in Business Economics and Accounting.

She was elected Conservative MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields in 2005 and remained an MP until 2019, holding a number of Ministerial positions, including Secretary of State for Education. Since leaving Parliament, Justine has campaigned for social mobility and equality of opportunity. In July 2023 she was awarded an honorary doctorate at Southampton.

She said: "I am honoured to be offered the role of Chancellor for the university that has played such an important part in my life and career. I have been immensely proud of all that the university has achieved and, in particular, I have found the work Southampton is doing on social mobility and widening participation to be truly inspiring.

"While I have always maintained a valued relationship with Southampton as an alumna, I look forward to a deepening connection with the university community during my term in this role."

Lord Patel began his career as a social worker, later moving into academia and government roles relating to health, education and social care. He was made an OBE in 1999 for services to ethnic minority health issues. In 2018, Lord Patel was appointed Chair of Social Work England, the regulator for child, family and adult social workers in England.

Lord Patel is Chair of the India Business Group and already has links to the university, as a valued patron for The India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development. He was awarded an honorary degree in 2018.

He said: "I am delighted to take up this ambassadorial role at the University of Southampton and I will do my very best to contribute to the university’s continuing development, growth and success. I have always been hugely impressed with the world-class research that takes place here and the impact it has globally. I look forward to engaging with staff, students and alumni to learn even more about this remarkable institution."

Sir Ian Diamond, Chair of University Council, added: "I am delighted to confirm the appointment of Justine Greening and Lord Patel of Bradford as our dual Chancellors. They bring an extraordinary wealth of combined experience, expertise and dedication in areas such as mental health, social mobility and equality, which are also of great importance to the university community.

"They will each play an immensely positive role as we move forward with our ambitious strategy."