BBC radio broadcaster, television presenter, Church of England priest and half of 80s pop duo The Communards, the Revd Richard Coles has officially become the Chancellor of the University of Northampton.
Richard – who was born in Northamptonshire and is the Vicar of Finedon – was officially installed at the first of the University’s Summer Graduation ceremonies, which are taking place between Tuesday 18 and Friday 21 July.
A familiar face on the 1980s pop scene, Richard had three Top 10 hits as one half of the Communards and now co-presents BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live show and is a regular guest on flagship television shows such as Have I Got News For You and QI.
Richard was one of the advisers for the BBC hit comedy Rev, and in the summer of 2016 took part in the BBC’s prime-time programme Celebrity Masterchef. Most recently he co-presented The Big Painting Challenge on BBC One.
In addition he has an interest in social enterprise, particularly in the field of housing. He serves as a board member of Wellingborough Homes, which provides social and affordable housing in the area.
In his newest role as Chancellor, Richard is now the ceremonial head of the University. His main role is to act as an ambassador for the University, represent its mission and values, preside at graduation ceremonies, confer awards to graduates and be the focus of inspiration for both students and staff.
Richard said: “I think the role of the Chancellor is to be a broker of good relationships, to make sure the student body, members of staff, the management team are all involved in the process of being the best that we can be.
“I am really keen on helping people make that step up into tertiary education through my work with the University of Northampton.”
Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor at the University of Northampton, said: “As the only University in the county, Richard’s commitment to Northamptonshire through recognition of the role Higher Education has to play in its future, both at home and internationally, is singularly impressive.
“The Chancellorship demands an inspirational figure who shares our values and encapsulates our vision and mission to transform lives and inspire change. The Reverend Richard Coles fits the bill perfectly and we are thrilled he has joined us.
“As the University prepares to make the move to our new Waterside Campus at the heart of Northampton, myself and colleagues are immensely looking forward to working with Richard – who brings an unrivalled enthusiasm for the county and the role that Higher Education has to play in its future.”