Welcome celebrations for new Chancellor

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is delighted to have welcomed The Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE as our new Chancellor.

The inspirational campaigner was invested at a ceremony on Friday 22 January, which turned into a giant party.

Numerous celebrations were held throughout the day to mark this special - and - rare event, and the highlights of this truly historic occasion are captured in our exclusive video.

If you would like to see a version with subtitles, click here.

The lead-up to this incredibly special event involved meticulous preparation. On the day itself, the Chancellor had a busy morning touring DMU’s campus before her investiture, and you can view all the events on our Facebook picture galleries.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence was chosen because of her strong desire to champion issues affecting students, education and social change – core values she shares with our institution.

She has succeeded The Lord Alli as the university’s ceremonial head and will be our figurehead and ambassador.

The new Chancellor said: “I am delighted to be joining DMU. I am a huge believer in education's power to transform lives for the better and am thrilled to become part of DMU at such an exciting time for the university.”

Baroness Lawrence is the mother of Stephen Lawrence, a teenager murdered in a racist attack in 1993. She has fought tirelessly for justice and established the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them start careers in architecture, journalism and law.

A champion for the transformative power of education, she has also worked to increase the number of students from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds participating in higher education.

Baroness Lawrence became a Life Peer in 2013 and has used her political standing to influence and empower young people to engage in politics. Her achievements have been recognised around the world and she was hailed as “an example to us all” by Home Secretary Teresa May. Last year she was made an Honorary Doctor of Laws by DMU and took part in a moving Q&A with staff and students.

Professor Dominic Shellard, Vice-Chancellor of DMU, said: “Baroness Lawrence epitomises DMU’s ethos of public good and uses her position to challenge convention to be a force for positive change.”

To officially welcome Baroness Lawrence, the inauguration ceremony at The Venue@DMU included exciting performances from various DMU societies and poetry readings.

This was “no ordinary day” and Baroness Lawrence was “no ordinary individual”, said Professor Shellard, during his introductory speech. Ian Blatchford, Chairman of the Board of Governors at DMU, told of his “enormous privilege’ at leading the investiture, while Amie Chapman, De Montfort Students’ Union Deputy President for Education, welcomed Baroness Lawrence on behalf of the student body.

One of the performers, Tiffannie Mersades Roberts, told the Huffington Post why she feels Baroness Lawrence is a Chancellor students can really connect with.

Officially accepting her new role, Baroness Lawrence spoke of a “shared vision” and how she was “honoured” and “grateful” to be Chancellor.

The celebrations earlier in the day included speed lectures by four leading DMU academics on their areas of expertise, and a pop-up display honouring previous Chancellors at DMU’s Heritage Centre.

The Chancellor’s role

The Chancellor is the university’s ceremonial figurehead, with formal responsibility to confer degrees on behalf of DMU. The Chancellor also plays an important ambassadorial role, working with the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Chancellors to represent the university in the external community.

An advocate of DMU, the Chancellor works to raise the university’s profile and advance its interests both nationally and internationally.

The Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon OBE is the sixth person to hold the post since the university’s foundation. She has succeeded The Lord Alli, who stepped down from the role after nine years in July 2015.

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