The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, is to be the new Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire. He succeeds Baroness Ros Howells.
Mr Bercow is a constituency neighbour of the University’s main campuses (Luton and Bedford), and in particular its newest location, University Campus Milton Keynes.
Mr Bercow will formally take up the appointment in June.
As Chancellor, Mr Bercow will represent the University on special occasions, confer degrees at graduation ceremonies and preside over meetings of the University Court.
One of the most recognisable figures in British public life, Mr Bercow has successfully sought to revive and reform Parliament and its procedures, empowering the legislature and actively engaging with the public and schools in particular on the work and importance of Parliament. He delivered a public lecture to a packed audience at the University in May 2013 on the topic of parliamentary reform.
His installation as Chancellor was approved by the University Board of Governors’ Nominations Committee and will formally take place at a graduation ceremony in June.
Speaking on his ambitions and responsibilities as the new Chancellor, Mr Bercow said:
“I am hugely honoured to accept this role.
“The fundamental principles of social mobility, internationalism, intellectual curiosity and achievement are close to my heart. I hope that I am able to support, and represent, the University’s commitment and ambitions across these areas, and beyond.
“Having visited the University recently, I was impressed by the world-leading research that is taking place, the commitment to developing students as citizens, and the shared commitment to realise the potential of all students no matter their background.
“I am already looking forward to my formal installation, and playing my part in supporting the University’s work.”
Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor, added:“We are delighted that John Bercow has agreed to be our new Chancellor. John will be a tremendous ambassador for the University and our mission to transform lives and communities.
“I know that students, staff and others across the University community will share my delight in welcoming John Bercow as the newest member of that community.
“Baroness Howells will be a tough act to follow. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ros for her dedication, friendship and commitment to the University, our students and our mission. I’m delighted that she has agreed to continue to support the University as Pro-Chancellor.”
The announcement of the new Chancellor follows other recent exciting news at the University, including the award of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research, and the internationally significant work of Professor Stephen Bax in ‘decoding’ the Voynich manuscript.