Top barrister Helena Kennedy QC named as new chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is the new chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is the new chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University

Sheffield Hallam University has announced its new chancellor will be a renowned barrister and human rights champion.

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC will take over the role following the retirement of the university's current chancellor Lord Professor Robert Winston.

Lord Professor Robert Winston

Lord Professor Robert Winston

Baroness Kennedy is a leading barrister and during her career has acted in many of the most prominent British criminal cases of the last 40 years, including the Brighton bombing attack on the British cabinet, the Guildford Four Appeal and the Michael Bettaney espionage case.

She is currently principal of Mansfield College, in Oxford - a position she retires from later this year.

In 1997, she was made a life peer in the House of Lords.

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Baroness Kennedy already has a well-established relationship with Sheffield Hallam, as the patron of its world-leading Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice and recipient of an honorary doctorate in 2014.

She said: "I am thoroughly privileged to be taking up the role of chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University.

"Having worked closely with the university for a number of years and seen it go from strength to strength, it will be a pleasure to play a role in the next stage of its evolution.

"I feel fortunate to already be part of the university community and look forward to strengthening that bond through my chancellorship.

"I was honoured to be asked to be the university's next chancellor and look forward to getting to know even more of our community of staff, students and alumni.

"I am a firm believer in the power of education and have seen first-hand how the work of Sheffield Hallam transforms lives all over the world.

"It will be a pleasure to be chancellor of this university, whose vision, values and ambition match my own."

Vice-chancellor professor Chris Husbands said he was looking for to working with Baroness Kennedy, and her track record in education 'speaks for itself'.

He said: "She is a formidable person and her insight and knowledge will be invaluable as we continue to deliver our Transforming Lives strategy."

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"I would also like to express my thanks, and that of the University, to Professor the Lord Winston.

"His service as our chancellor for the past 17 years has been remarkable, during which time his commitment to Sheffield Hallam, our students and wider community, has been outstanding.

"He has been a distinguished ambassador for the university; his genuine interest in the achievements of our students and the work of the university has always been apparent.

"I thank him for his work in representing and advocating for Sheffield Hallam over the years. It has been an enormous personal privilege to work with him."

Baroness Kennedy will become our third Chancellor when Professor the Lord Winston steps down. He took up the post following Sir Bryan Nicholson's tenure between 1992-2001.

He said: "It has been an extraordinary honour to serve as the chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University during the last 17 years.

"During that time, I have seen the university grow in stature and flourish.

"I have been humbled by meeting tens of thousands of our students at their graduation.

"I have constantly been most proud at their success and have watched their progress with the deepest admiration.

"One of the most satisfying aspects of being their chancellor has been meeting so many of them on my travels, often long after their graduation, and learning at first-hand how much the University has meant to them and how it has enhanced their lives.

"This university is increasingly influential and I look forward to seeing it continue ever upwards."

He said he was delighted at Baroness Kennedy's appointment and the university could 'not have chosen a wiser or a better human being'.

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A ceremony to install the new chancellor is being planned for later this year.