On Thursday 11th October, Theo headed to Southampton where he was inaugurated as Chancellor of Solent University. On a day steeped in tradition, Theo was warmly welcomed by the Vice Chancellor, Graham Baldwin and many of the University’s representatives.
On arrival at Solent, Theo was able to chat to some of the local media about his new role and discuss his ambitions for the University. He mentioned that his motto for life is “be the best you can be” and he believes that Solent gives its Students the opportunity to do just that with its fantastic facilities and brilliant teaching staff.
Two students who are studying for a Multimedia Journalism degree at the University came to interview Theo. It was an opportunity to learn a bit more about student life, after which Theo even said “I wish I was a student here!”
At 6pm guests started to arrive which included friends, family and local business leaders who were greeted to a reception at the state-of-the art The Spark building which Theo opened in 2017. At 6.45pm the ceremony began with a precession onto the stage alongside many of the University leaders.
The ceremony was opened by the University Orator, Professor Peter Lloyd, which was followed by an address from the Vice-Chancellor which covered the fantastic progress the University has made in the last 10 years. The pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Governors, Phil Cotton, then delivered the encomium for Theo, the formal welcome and introduction of Theo and his achievements. This was followed by the official inauguration which saw Theo receive his black and gold Chancellor gown.
The President of Solent Students’ Union delivered an address which welcomed Theo on behalf of the students and furthered the points raised by the Vice-Chancellor on how Solent has risen in all the newspaper league tables and achieved TEF Silver, in recognition of the University’s excellent teaching.
Newly inaugurated Chancellor, Theo, addressed the congregation announcing to the audience that he also felt like a fresher! He thanked the University for the brilliant work that they have done, recently jumping 15 places in The Sunday Times University Guide.
Theo highlighted that at the heart of the University is ambition; the students, professors and the investment all being a reflection of that. He went on to talk about how Solent is not an Ivory Tower, but that is why Solent offers so much to its students with its real life ethos.
Theo also reflected on his own school experience, and noted the importance of the teaching staff and how it just takes one brilliant teacher to inspire a student.
As Chancellor, Theo will be the ceremonial head of the University and one of its most important ambassadors, representing the University externally, both nationally and internationally, working closely with the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Chancellor.
Commenting on the day Vice-Chancellor, professor Graham Baldwin, said: Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, says: “Theo joins us at an exciting and challenging time for higher education. No stranger to Solent or the broader sector, with two of his daughters graduating from the University, I am confident Theo’s appointment will help to strengthen our position as a local and global institution.
“Solent plays a key role in supporting local and regional economies, sharing knowledge, skills and resources with the local community. With his knowledge and experience from industry, Theo will also help us to strengthen partnerships and further enhance our commitment to real world learning.”