Emotional new chancellor speaks about her appointment

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock has given us a glimpse into her thoughts at the beginning of her five-year tenure as Chancellor of the University of Leicester.

The award-winning scientist and broadcaster spoke to us during her busy graduation schedule and official instalment to say how emotional it had been. 


She said the historic moment had “brought tears to her eyes” and that she felt incredibly proud. 

Maggie is the University’s first female Chancellor and the first person from an ethnic minority to take up the role. She is no stranger to hard work herself and was once told by a teacher that instead of trying to realise her dream of going to space, she should be more realistic and aim for caring professions instead. 

She said that the University itself had been formed out of passion to look past World War I and create a new legacy for young men and women and called for all those connected to the institution to work together to “stimulate the next generation.” 

Maggie is best known for her work on The Sky at Night, which she has presented since 2014.

Born in London to Nigerian parents, she attended 13 different schools before she turned 18 and had undiagnosed dyslexia.

However, her perseverance and love of science ensured she obtained a physics degree and PhD in mechanical engineering at Imperial College London, in 1994.

Since then, Maggie has worked for the UK Ministry of Defence helping to develop aircraft missile warning systems and hand-held instruments to detect landmines.

She worked at University College London from 1999 to 2005 developing a high-resolution spectrograph for the Gemini Observatory, in Chile.

In addition, Maggie worked on the Aeolus satellite, which measures wind speeds in the Earth’s atmosphere to help with our understanding of climate change. She has also worked on instrumentation for the James Webb Space Telescope.

In 2018, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Leicester.

As Chancellor, Maggie is the ceremonial head and acts as an advocate for the University both nationally and internationally, as well as chairing the annual meeting of University Court. Day-to-day executive management of the University, is conducted by President and Vice-Chancellor, Nishan Canagarajah.