THE Rt Hon Lord Mandelson was officially installed as Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University during a grand ceremony at Manchester Town Hall on Monday (June 13).
The former Labour minister and European Trade Commissioner was presented as Chancellor to become the University’s fourth such figurehead.
Lord Mandelson was installed as Chancellor by Vice-Chancellor Professor Malcolm Press and Pro-Chancellor Vanda Murray OBE.
He was also presented with an honorary Doctor of Letters in front of over 300 University members, leading lights from the business community, political leaders and student representatives in the resplendent Great Hall.
Lord Mandelson spoke of his pride at joining the University: “What struck me about everyone at Manchester Metropolitan is the excitement and ambition. The students, the staff, the plans for the future. It is going to be so exciting to be involved and I think it’s going to be tremendous fun.”
Lord Mandelson took time out of his hectic STRONGER IN campaign schedule for the installation and added: “The University sector is one of this country’s greatest assets. European Union partnerships and funding benefit our knowledge economy and we must do all that we can to maintain that world leading position.”
The role of Chancellor is to act as the most senior ambassador and ceremonial head of the University, promoting its mission, vision and values. Lord Mandelson will support the efforts of the University leadership team to be world-class providers of education and research, and to work in partnership with business, industry, public sector and university collaborators, as Manchester occupies an increasingly important place on the world stage.
Lord Mandelson was appointed to the role of Chancellor from 1 April 2016 for a five-year term, succeeding Dame Dianne Thompson DBE.
Professor Malcom Press, Vice-Chancellor, told guests: “We are a University looking to the future. A confident University, a sustainable University, rooted in our community, driven by aspiration, and working in partnership.
“As we have got to know each other I have been consistently impressed by Peter’s ability to see the bigger picture. To help me grasp the important elements in projects where we are working together. To understand the importance of a clear message and coherent strategy and then to move swiftly towards an elegant solution.
“It is these qualities that Prime Ministers and Presidents recognise and so deeply admire in Peter. He is a global statesman, held in high regard, in the highest places across the world.”
Vanda Murray, OBE, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors, said: “Today is about celebrating the accession to our team of its newest member, Lord Mandelson. Peter is someone who shares our ambition and is determined to work with us to maximise our potential. We are delighted to welcome Peter to our University and to ‘Team Manchester’ and to work together in this fantastic dynamic city.”
Lord Mandelson is a former European Trade Commissioner and British First Secretary of State. Prior to this, he was Minister without Portfolio, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Northern Ireland Secretary and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in the British government. He is now a working peer in the House of Lords, President of the Policy Network think tank and chairman of Global Counsel, a consultancy and advisory business he co-founded in 2010. He became President of the Great Britain China Centre in 2015.
Lord Mandelson was joined on stage by the University Executive Group, University Governors, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester and the Lord Mayor of Manchester.
The ceremony was the first time the new corporate video has been aired, charting the vision, ambition and strengths of the University. You can view on this week’s ManMetLife.
David Shirley, Director of the Manchester School of Theatre, hosted the event as master of ceremonies with speeches from the Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor and Lord Mandelson.
The procession was led by six stave bearers carrying the University’s bespoke silver mace, hand-crafted by alumnus and silversmith Angus McFadyen.
Lord Mandelson was presented with three symbolic gifts created by staff and alumni of the Manchester School of Art, representing the student body, University and city region.
Jordan Stephen (pictured right), President of The Union, presented a glazed and transfer-printed earthenware plate, created by Stephen Dixon, Professor of Contemporary Crafts.
Alice Kettle, Professor of Contemporary Arts, presented a framed textile piece created by herself on behalf of the University.
Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, presented a silver beaker created by Angus McFadyen.
Colleagues from across the University were on hand to ensure the smooth running of the event. Libby Basnett, Marketing and Events Officer, led the organisation and delivery of the installation.
She was supported by more than 40 colleagues from IT Services; Awards and Conferments, Marketing, Communications and Development; Security; and Governance and Secretariat, among other staff.