It has been announced this afternoon that Ruby Wax will be appointed as the new Chancellor at the University of Southampton. The OBE was unanimously approved by the University Council. She will begin the role on 1st May 2019.
As a Chancellor at the University, Ms Wax will take on an essential ambassadorial role, preside over graduation ceremonies, and much more. Chair of University Council, Philip Greenish, said in the University post announcing her appointment:
I am delighted to confirm the appointment of Ruby Wax as Chancellor of the University. Ruby brings a fresh perspective to the role and I am confident that as an enthusiastic and engaged ambassador for our university community, her insights, experiences and campaigning capabilities will benefit us all for years to come.
Ruby Wax is not only a famous comic, but has also studied Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, followed by a masters at the University of Oxford in mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. She has spoken openly about her own struggles with clinical depression in both her writing and activism. Moreover, she is an ambassador for the mental health charities MIND and SANE, as well as a patron for the British Neuroscience Association. Her work surrounding mental health is what earned her the OBE in 2015. The University’s student-run MIND society have commented on the news, stating that they are ‘absolutely thrilled Ruby Wax OBE has been appointed as the new chancellor‘.
Acting Student Union President Steve Gore has also stated publicly:
Whilst I should note that this is a distinct role from Vice-Chancellor and President, this is nonetheless an important ambassadorial role for the University, and council are excited to work with Ms Wax to raise the profile of the University and to promote the opportunities that we offer.
Ruby Wax has herself expressed how ‘thrilled’ she is to have been appointed to the role, adding:
I’m looking forward to getting to know more about the University and particularly keen to engage with Southampton’s students, staff and graduates across its wide range of subjects, and activities, which I find inspiring.
The post of Chancellor had been previously vacant for the past 2 years since Dame Helen Alexander’s passing in 2017 after a three year battle with cancer. Dame Alexander held the role for 6 years.