Sir John Sunderland has been confirmed as the new Chancellor of Aston University, replacing Sir Michael Bett, who is due to retire after more than six years in the role.
Sir John, who will officially take up the position in May 2011, has existing links with Aston, as a Lay Member of the University’s Council. He also has strong ties with the West Midlands region, having held a number of roles at Cadbury and associated companies, over a forty year career.
The Chancellor is the honorary and ceremonial head of the University, presiding at degree ceremonies and conferring degrees.
Sir John commented on his appointment: ‘Having served on the University Council I have come to appreciate the breadth of the Aston community and its stakeholders, and the importance to our graduands of their degrees. It will be a privilege to share their special day at graduation time.’
Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor, added, ‘We are delighted that Sir John Sunderland has agreed to be our next Chancellor. In the time he has been on Council, he has demonstrated the insight and personal qualities needed to be an outstanding Chancellor for Aston University. His appointment reflects Aston’s position as a university with strong links to industry and business. We are all looking forward to working with him in the coming years.’
Sir Michael Bett’s retirement marks the end of a long association with Aston University. Between 1993 and 2003, he was Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Council, before taking over from Sir Adrian Cadbury as Chancellor in 2004. Sir Michael will preside over the University’s postgraduate degree ceremonies in April before handing over to his successor.
Professor King commented, ‘Sir Michael has made a very significant contribution to Aston University over the last seventeen years. His command of degree ceremonies and his welcoming presence at official functions will be missed. We are grateful for all his efforts on our behalf, and we sincerely hope that we will continue to see Sir Michael and his wife Christine at future Aston events.’
Sir John Sunderland will be officially installed as Chancellor in a ceremony taking place at Aston University on Wednesday 4 May 2011.