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The University has elected Rt. Hon Alan Milburn as the next Chancellor of Lancaster University. Milburn will begin his role as Chancellor on January 1st 2015, succeeding current chancellor Sir Chris Bonington.
Milburn – who studied History at Lancaster and was later awarded an honorary degree in 2000 – is perhaps best known for his work as Labour MP for Darlington between 1992 and 2010. As a government minister he served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and State Secretary for Health. Milburn now runs his own consultancy, which advises governments and corporations worldwide.
It is the former MP’s work in the area of social mobility which the University has particularly championed. In 2009, Milburn chaired a governmental commission, the Panel on Fair Access to the Professions. The Panel’s report recommended improvements in social mobility by acting at every life stage, not only at school level but at university, internship and recruitment levels as well. Milburn continues to work in this area as Chair of the Commission on Social Mobility and Child Poverty.
Lancaster’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E. Smith, said: “We are delighted to welcome Alan as Chancellor in the year of Lancaster’s 50th Anniversary, especially as an alumnus. The University, like him, is committed to making sure that higher education is open to all young people to develop their talents, whatever their social or economic background.”
As Chancellor Milburn will be succeeding mountaineer Chris Bonington, who will have served ten years as Lancaster University’s Chancellor when his term comes to as a close at the end of 2014.
Smith commended the work of Bonington. “I would also like to pay tribute to Sir Chris Bonington, who retires this year after ten tremendous years of being committed to Lancaster as our Chancellor. We look forward to a continuing association with Chris.”
In conversation with the University, Milburn also began by praising his predecessor: “I am honoured to follow in Chris’s footsteps. He has been an outstanding Chancellor of a great university.”
Milburn has previously said that he credits his time at Lancaster for providing a base for his future career. This he echoed, stating: “It is a privilege to become Chancellor of the university that gave me such strong foundations for my life and career.
“Now, as then, Lancaster is leading the way in creating opportunities for young people to realise their aspirations in life,” Milburn said. “I look forward to working with students and staff in making Lancaster University even more successful in future.”
President Joel Pullan told SCAN: “I’m really pleased that Alan has been chosen as our new Chancellor. He’s got strong links with Lancaster and I know he’ll do a great job in being an ambassador for the University.
“Obviously Sir Chris has done a fantastic job, and I hope Alan is up for the challenge in following in his footsteps!”
Alan Milburn will be Lancaster’s third Chancellor, the first being the founding Chancellor HRH Princess Alexandra who served from 1964 – 2004 and was one of the longest serving university chancellors in the UK.