27 Apr 2007

Lord Puttnam is installed as the new Chancellor of The Open University

Chancellor Lord Puttnam

Chancellor Lord Puttnam

Lord Puttnam of Queensgate has been installed as the new Chancellor of The Open University in a ceremony earlier today (Friday, April 27) at The Barbican, London.

Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Brenda Gourley – the University’s Vice-Chancellor – described Lord Puttnam, the University’s fifth Chancellor, as a first-rate choice.

“It is his work as a passionate advocate for training and education that made him the pre-eminent choice for Chancellor of The Open University,” she said. His experience of evening class study to further his education – after leaving school with limited academic qualifications – reflected the experiences of many Open University students.

In referring to a number of his current and past roles, including UK president of UNICEF and the founding chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, Professor Gourley outlined Lord Puttnam’s commitment to the field of education. “It is of great significance for the University to have such a champion as Chancellor – a Chancellor who shares the University’s mission of widening educational opportunities for everyone, and whose own career is a shining example of achievement from modest beginnings.”

Today’s ceremony also saw Lord Puttnam, who served as Chancellor at the University of Sunderland for ten years, presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of the University.

Among the Chancellor’s most public roles is attendance at some of the University’s degree ceremonies, where he acts as presiding officer. Lord Puttnam will also take part in two other ceremonies for the University tomorrow (Saturday, April 28) – also at The Barbican. In addition, the Chancellor attends other university events, provides counsel and guidance to the University’s officers, and engages in other duties, depending on their particular areas of interest.

The University’s former Chancellor was the Rt Hon Baroness Boothroyd OM, who held the post for 12 years.

Today’s ceremony is one of more than 20 across the UK from April to September that will see the achievements of about 9,500 of the University’s graduates celebrated.

Editor's Notes

Following his retirement from film production in 1998, Lord Puttnam now focuses his work on the field of education. He was appointed president of UNICEF UK in 2002 and has since played a key role in promoting UNICEF’s advocacy, awareness and fundraising objectives. In addition to founding the National Teaching Awards in 1998, he served as Chairman of NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) from 1998 to 2003 and was elected as the inaugural Chair of the General Teaching Council for England in 2001.

He was awarded a CBE in 1982, received a knighthood in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997.

Images of Lord Puttnam at today’s ceremony are available from Open University Media Relations – contact details appear right.

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