Lenny Henry is Chancellor | ...of Birmingham City University

Lenny Henry is Chancellor

...of Birmingham City University

Lenny Henry has been made chancellor of Birmingham City University.

The comedian, actor and Comic Relief co-founder said the role was ‘a superb opportunity for me to pursue three passions - Birmingham and the West Midlands, the creative arts and giving life-changing opportunities to young people from a wide range of backgrounds’.

He added that the university ‘is right in the centre of a city that has changed beyond recognition in recent years and offers the sort of contemporary education I would have killed for when I was a kid.’

On a visit tot he campus today, he said of his new role: ‘I get to wear a cape, I get a horse drawn carriage to take me around all the different campus sites! I get to be Shrek when I go to the animation studio and I get to make a grime album in the recording studio. It is so exciting, I could burst.

The 57-year-old, who was knighted last year, has recently been leading a charge to get more black and ethnic minorities into TV, both in front of and behind the camera.

Professor Cliff Allan, vice-chancellor of the university, said:
‘We are absolutely delighted that one of the country's most well-known personalities is to be our new Chancellor.

‘He not only encapsulates the university's commitment to both the arts and widening participation, but he is a strong advocate for Birmingham and the region, including his home town of Dudley.’

The university has more than 23,000 students. Until now, its chancellors have always been the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, the last one being Shafique Shah, each in post for a year. However Sir Lenny will start a five-year stint once he is formally installed in November.

Alumni include Frank Skinner, who attended when the university was still called Birmingham Polytechnic.

Published: 21 Jul 2016

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