Baroness Royall of Blaisdon joins University

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Baroness Royall of Blaisdon as our new Pro-Chancellor.

Janet Anne Royall joined the Lords as a life Peer in 2004 and became a member of the Privy Council in 2008. She was elected as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords in May 2010 and became a member of the Shadow Cabinet at the same time.

She is due to take up the position of Pro-Chancellor on 1 August 2014 for a three-year period, and will replace David Medlock who has fulfilled the role with distinction for the past 11 years.

Baroness Royall said: “It is an honour and a privilege to have been appointed as Pro-Chancellor of the University of Bath.  I am proud to be able to serve this world-class university under the excellent leadership of the Vice-Chancellor and her management team.

“These are challenging times for universities but there are also huge opportunities in the UK, the EU and the wider world, and I look forward immensely to my new role."

Baroness Royall has a long and successful career in politics, and is particularly experienced in European issues. Beginning with her time as Secretary General of the British Labour Group in the European Parliament (1979-1985) and Policy Adviser/Personal Assistant to Neil Kinnock as Leader of the Opposition, she became a member of his Cabinet when he was European Commissioner for Transport and Vice President of the Commission. She was then responsible for the Commission’s relationship with the European Parliament before taking the role of Head of the European Commission Office in Wales.

She held significant ministerial and other roles in the last Labour Government. Having served as Government Whip and Government Spokesperson for Health, International Development and Foreign & Commonwealth Office (2005-2008), she became Government Chief Whip in the Lords in 2008. She entered the Cabinet in 2008 as Leader of the House of Lords (2008-2010), and held the titles of Lord President of the Council (2008-2009) and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (2009-2010).

Born in Gloucester and having lived in Blaisdon in the Forest of Dean for over 40 years, she is an active member of that community and often campaigns on behalf of local causes. She is a former Trustee of IPPR, the National Botanic Garden of Wales, and Generation Europe, has volunteered in India through VSO and is patron of Bath Institute of Rheumatic Diseases (BIRD).

Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, Vice-Chancellor, said of the appointment: “Baroness Royall brings great experience and knowledge to the University. We are all delighted that she has agreed to join us.

“I’d also like to pay tribute to outgoing Pro-Chancellor David Medlock. We owe a debt of gratitude to David and his family, not only for his long service as Pro-Chancellor but also for their extraordinary philanthropy.”

The three Pro-Chancellors form a key part of the senior lay/ceremonial structure of the University and are members of Council, Court and Convocation.

They act as ambassadors for the University, promoting our activities in the wider community and, in particular, assisting with our philanthropic activity and fund raising projects.

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