ChancellorElect in visit to University and city report now online

Lord Willetts, Chancellor-Elect of the University visited the campus on 15 February to celebrate the official launch of his new book, A University Education.

David Willetts also met with University leaders, staff and students during a packed programme that saw him visit different parts of the campus as well as venues in the city associated with the University.

Lord Willetts began the day at the Henry Wellcome Building in the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology. He visited, amongst other things, the Cryo-Electron Microscope Area, NMR Facility and saw a demonstration of the Super Resolution Microscope.

He also went to the National Space Centre where he toured the facility, which was the brainchild of the University and co-founded by it. He received presentations on Leicester Space Park – Professor Martin Barstow spoke about 50 years of Space at Leicester; Professor Anu Ojha discussed the National Space Centre, National Space Academy and University partnership; Professor Iain Gillespie talked about Space Park Leicester and Chas Bishop spoke about the 10 year vision for the National Space Centre.

Lord Willetts then went on to the King Richard III Visitor Centre which was created after the discovery and identification of the mortal remains of the king by a University of Leicester team.

Lord Willetts has previously said of the discovery:

"Research on campuses can also capture the imagination of the public, whether it is through ground-breaking research or scholarly work communicated in a fresh and accessible manner. The worldwide attention garnered by the University of Leicester after its archaeologists excavated the remains of Richard III shows how dogged scholarly pursuit can result in extraordinary outcomes.”

He was given a view of the grave site and toured the exhibitions with Professor Turi King and Mr Iain Gordon.

Professor Kevin Schürer and Iain Gordon made a presentation on the DNA Forensic Centre, Professor Paul Monks spoke about Criminology and Forensics and Professor King talked about Ancient DNA.

On his return to the campus, the former Universities and Science Minister, who is an honorary graduate of the University, celebrated the official launch of his latest book, A University Education.

The University of Leicester and Oxford University Press organised the event with the author.  Lord Willetts presented a compelling case for the ongoing importance of the university, both as one of the great institutions of modern society and as a transformational experience for the individual.

His book combines a passionate advocacy of a university education with a serious in-depth knowledge of the higher education sector. It presents the author’s vision of what universities can offer us - both now and in the future.

The topic was explored in full by an expert panel comprising academics and leading figures from higher education who discussed the themes and implications of the book and the audience was invited to present their own thoughts and questions on the subject.

The panel consisted of:

  • (Chair) Professor Paul Boyle CBE, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester
  • Lord Willetts
  • Mary Curnock Cook OBE, Chief Executive UCAS (2010-2017)
  • Professor Chris Husbands MA, PhD, PGCE, Vice-Chancellor, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Read a full report of the event here.

    A formal protest by UCU members and students over the appointment of Lord Willetts as Chancellor-Elect also took place during the day.  The University will work to host subsequent events to allow the debate to continue, and these will be advertised in due course.

    The appointment of Lord Willetts followed the University’s process, set out in its ordinances, as used for previous Chancellors. This involved the Nominations Committee recommending a candidate to Council. Council supported David’s nomination and it was subsequently agreed by the University Court.

    David Willetts is already well connected with the University and his knowledge and experience of Higher Education, Science and Industry is extensive. He will be a valuable ambassador for the University and will support us through the challenges that the higher education sector is currently undergoing, not just in the UK but globally.

  • Announcement of the University's new Chancellor
  • Press release