Dame Evelyn Glennie appointed new Robert Gordon University chancellor

Douglas Barrie
·3-min read

Grammy award winner Dame Evelyn Glennie has been appointed the new chancellor of Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen.

The solo percussionist, who received an honorary doctor of music degree from RGU in 2016, will take over as head of the institution when Sir Ian Wood stands down in July.

After growing up on a farm in the north east she was drawn to percussion as her hearing declined – and went on to become the first person to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist.

Dame Evelyn now performs around the world with a wide range of renowned orchestras, conductors and artists.

The 55-year-old said: “I am honoured to join Robert Gordon University, the Scottish University of the Year, as its chancellor – it has been my life’s mission to widen access to music and use it as a medium to build social cohesion.

“I also know that listening is the key to inclusion and collaboration. RGU shares these values and I support the university’s ambition to eliminating barriers to higher education and widening participation among underrepresented groups.

“The role of universities and higher education has never been more important as we recover the devastating impacts of the pandemic.

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“RGU will have an important part to play in ensuring that society has the skills and learning necessary to enable it to thrive despite current challenges.

“I intend to build on the work done by Sir Ian Wood to enhance RGU’s reputation. I recognise this is a great privilege and I am proud to represent the university not just nationally but on an international stage.”

The university will hold a special ceremony to mark the handover of the role when it is safe to do so in person.

Sir Ian Wood
Sir Ian Wood at a fundraising dinner organised by The Hunter Foundation (Lesley Martin/PA)

Sir Ian will preside over his last graduation ceremonies in July, which will be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “After… I suspect one of the longest served chancellors certainly in the last 100 years, I am very happy to be stepping down, particularly as my successor is to be Evelyn Glennie.

“I am absolutely delighted at her appointment. She will do it very differently from me but I know she will do it superbly and be very popular with the students.

“The university has certainly changed in a whole range of positive ways and I am sure will continue to do so.

“I think over the period I have graduated something like 80,000 students and I always enjoy when I meet graduates mainly in the UK but also elsewhere in the world.

“I send Evelyn all very best wishes for what I am sure will be a very successful period as chancellor of a very fine university.”

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