Homecoming for University of Stirling’s new Chancellor

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Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell with Wallace Monument in the background
Chancellor Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell

The Rt Hon Lord Jack McConnell has been unveiled as the University of Stirling’s new Chancellor.

The appointment marks a return to the University for the former Stirling student.

The former First Minister of Scotland succeeds Jim Naughtie, who stood down earlier this year after serving as Chancellor for a decade. The Chancellor is the ceremonial Head of the University, with the formal duty of presiding over degree congregations. 

Lord McConnell said: “I feel deeply honoured to be asked to serve the University of Stirling as their Chancellor, following in the footsteps of such distinguished previous Chancellors, including – of course – Lord Robbins, who was the very first in 1967.

“The University has always been innovative, dynamic and ambitious. It has also always held a special place in my heart.

“I will be determined to do all I can to help the University to continue to grow and develop, while retaining the essential values that have helped build its success over the past 50 years.”

Stirling Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerry McCormac said: “We’re delighted to welcome Lord McConnell back to Stirling as our new Chancellor.

“Ever since he was a politically engaged student here, Lord McConnell has always remained an active, loyal and much-valued friend to our University and I look forward to working closely with him for the benefit of our students, staff and wider community.”

Welcoming the announcement, Fiona Sandford, Chair of the University Court, said: “We are delighted Lord McConnell has accepted the role as the University’s new Chancellor. He will continue to be an excellent ambassador for Stirling’s achievements and I know will inspire others to make a positive difference.”

Lord McConnell served as First Minister of Scotland between 2001 and 2007, before being appointed to the House of Lords as Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale in 2010. He became a Vice-President for Unicef UK in 2015.

Lord McConnell received the degree of Doctor of the University in October 2008, in recognition of his contribution to public affairs.

After graduating in Mathematics with Education, he taught Mathematics in local high schools between 1983 and 1992.

During his time as an undergraduate student at the University of Stirling, Lord McConnell served as President of the Students’ Union – from 1980-82 – as well as National Union of Students Scotland Vice-President, from 1982-83.

He was the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Peacebuilding from 2008 to 2010, and Education Adviser to the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative in Malawi and Rwanda.

Lord McConnell is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the McConnell International Foundation. He is involved as an ambassador, patron and board member of several international and UK-based non-government organisations.

In 2013, Lord McConnell’s political papers – ranging from early election leaflets to diaries from his period as First Minister – were received by the Scottish Political Archive, based at the University.

Lord McConnell’s installation as Chancellor will take place at the University’s summer degree ceremonies in June 2019.

Previous Stirling Chancellors

1. Lord Robbins - 1967 to 1978

2. Sir Harold Montague Finniston - 1978 to 1988

3. 8th Lord Balfour of Burleigh, Robert Bruce - 1988 to 1998

4. Dame Diana Rigg - 1998 to 2008

5. James Naughtie - 2008 to 2018

Background information

Media enquiries to Lachlan Mackinnon, Communications Manager, on +44 (0) 1786 466436 or lachlan.mackinnon@stir.ac.uk.