Duke of Devonshire becomes new chancellor at the University of Derby
THE University of Derby's third chancellor will take up his new position at a ceremony tomorrow evening.
The 12th Duke of Devonshire will officially receive the robes of office from his predecessor, Professor Leslie Wagner, who has completed his five-year term of office.
The event will take place under the restored dome of the main building on the Devonshire campus, in Buxton, which was built originally by the fifth Duke of Devonshire as stables.
Four hundred guest will witness the ceremony, many of them in academic dress, including visitors from other universities.
Honorary graduates who will be attending the event include ex-Wizzard songwriter and guitarist Roy Wood, the Derby-born actress and Heartbeat star Gwen Taylor, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire – mother of the new chancellor – and wildlife artist Pollyanna Pickering.
Processional music will be provided by Chapel-en-le-Frith town brass band, which will play an adaptation of The Chancellor's Fanfare. This was specially composed for the University of Derby in 1995 at the time of the installation of the university's first chancellor, Sir Christopher Ball.
The Duke said: "It is a tremendous honour to have been invited to become the chancellor of this fine university, the most important seat of learning in Derbyshire, a county my family has called home for five centuries.
"I am very fortunate to follow in the footsteps of my distinguished predecessors, and look forward to working with the vice-chancellor, together with his dedicated and talented staff and all the students who make use of the university's teaching, research opportunities, scholarship and facilities across the county."
The new chancellor will perform his first duty of office at the event. He will be presenting awards to the winners of the chancellor's art competition, a contest open to the university's partner schools and colleges.
The role of chancellor is an appointed honorary one.
The Duke has special interests in education, business and the arts. In his role as chancellor he will be a figurehead for the university and will preside at meetings of the university court, which is described as a forum for the critical and supportive friends of the university.
Chancellors are appointed for a period of five years, which is renewable by mutual agreement.
Vice-chancellor Professor John Coyne said that the new chancellor was seen as someone with a distinct personality.
He said: "He is an astute businessman and heavyweight figure who will bring gravitas to the prominent role.
"What we were looking for was someone well known who could be an ambassador figure for the University.
"The Duke is a person of substance who will resonate well with us being Derbyshire's university as it takes on an increasingly national profile and builds further upon its success."