University of Northampton announces appointment of two Pro Chancellors

Date 15.05.2024

The University of Northampton is pleased to announce that it has installed two Pro Chancellors, Mark Lawson and Morcea Walker, at this year’s Summer Graduation ceremonies.

Mark and Morcea will work alongside the University’s Chancellor Reverend Richard Coles acting as a Presiding Officer at graduation ceremonies and supporting other activities and events at the University.

Mr Mark Lawson

Pro Chancellor Mark Lawson.

Mr Mark Lawson, who lives in Northamptonshire, was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2015 for his work as a journalist, author and broadcaster. Mark continues to write for a range of publications, including The Guardian, where he is a columnist in popular culture.

Specialising in culture and the arts, Mark is best known for presenting the flagship BBC Radio 4 arts programme Front Row between 1998 and 2014. He is also a Guardian columnist, and presented Mark Lawson Talks To… on BBC Four from 2006 to 2015.

In addition to his work in print journalism and the broadcast media, Mark has written five books, both fiction and non-fiction, and is an avid supporter of local sports team, Northampton Town Football Club (NTFC).

On his appointment, Mr Lawson said: “The story of my family across three generations has been on the importance of education.

“As a part of the role as Pro Chancellor, there is an expectation to take responsibility for one faculty or area of the University – my passions are journalism, theatre, literature and the arts.

“I’ve always had an intense relationship with the University of Northampton, because on at least 46 Saturdays or Tuesdays per year, I see the UON logo on the shirts of footballers at Northampton Town Football Club (NTFC).

“The relationship between the University of Northampton and NTFC is big – it goes beyond sponsorship, offering placements for students including Sports and Journalism.

“I’m a big believer that Arts Journalism is a form of teaching. I think there is an educational role there, which I have always tried to fulfil throughout my career. Now, with the University of Northampton as Pro Chancellor, I am attached to Higher Education – which would make my late mother very pleased.”

Watch Mark Lawson’s celebratory instalment video on YouTube here.

Mrs Morcea Walker

Pro Chancellor Morcea Walker.

Mrs Morcea Walker, who lives in Northampton, has been a long-standing supporter of the University. Morcea was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University in 2008, was awarded an MBE in 2023, appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant in 2017, and was Vice-Lord-Lieutenant of Northamptonshire from 2022-2024.

Morcea has taught in various types of local Secondary schools – Girls, Boys, Mixed and, for a short period, Special Schools – and became the Co-ordinator for Supplementary Schools in Northamptonshire, which run language and cultural classes including Arabic, Chinese, Polish, African Caribbean, Russian and Guajarati.

Morcea remains a Governor at a local school and a Trustee at a number of organisations including Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, Northamptonshire Black History Association, Healthwatch – West and North Northamptonshire, Street Pastors and Community Law.

Her involvement and enthusiasm for nurturing diversity and equality throughout Northamptonshire runs deep, as she continues to lead Northampton Carnival which takes place each year in the town.

On her journey to reaching instalment as Pro Chancellor at the University of Northampton, Mrs Walker said: “The day that I was made a Deputy Lieutenant of the county – I couldn’t believe it. Who would believe that a child coming out of rural Jamaica, aged nine, could reach there?

“The establishment of Northamptonshire Black History Association has been one of my biggest, proudest projects. The Association looks at the valuable contributions that Black people have made in our county throughout history -which is plentiful.

“I’m most looking forward to journeying with the University of Northampton. I want to pull the community into the University. I want to be able to use the links that I have in a positive way, but also to be a critical friend if it’s needed.

“Learning is a lifelong process – I would encourage everyone to find your passion and work on it. In life, it’s those passions which make you.”

Watch Morcea Walker’s celebratory instalment video on YouTube here.


Mr Lawson and Mrs Walker take up the position from David Laing CBE, who sadly died on 3 March 2024. David Laing was appointed as the University’s first Pro Chancellor in 2015 and was awarded a CBE in the 2024 New Year’s Honours list.