Kingston University has appointed its first female and black Chancellor.Bonnie Greer has marked her new role as the University’s Chancellor with a call for more women to study mathematics and sciences.
Ms Greer is humbled by the newly acquired position. She said: “I have not yet been able to take it all in. But to be part of a great university like this is very exciting, and I’m very honoured.”
Passion for Britain
Ms Greer is a well-known playwright, author, actress and musician. She also contributes and writes for The Evening Standard, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, BBC2’s The Review Show and Radio 4’s Any Questions.
Out of all her achievements she said that her best to date was receiving British citizenship in 1997: “It’s very hard and complex, but this country has given me so much and so all of the complexity and anxiety and waiting was worth it. Now I have dual nationality and to hold them both is a great privilege.”
Top public intellectual
Ms Greer was born in Chicago and moved to the UK in 1986, and her creative talents and contribution to the arts were awarded in 2010 with an OBE and she was named as one of the UK’s Top 300 public intellectuals the following year.
She has also completed two four-year terms as a trustee of the British Museum and hopes to see Kingston gain better links with the Museum.
“This is great for Kingston”
The appointment of the position was welcomed by a number of academics at the University and many were pleased to see a fresh face for the University.
Adam Baron, MA course director in creative writing, said he was delighted at the new announcement. He said: “This is a great appointment for Kingston. Bonnie Greer sits right at the centre of British cultural life as a writer and thinker.”
Nick Griffin face-off
Ms Greer has written more than a dozen plays for BBC Radio, a documentary for BBC television, a short film for BBC2, two novels and a biography of Langston Hughes, a writer and social activist.
Ms Greer famously stood up against Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party on BBC’s Question Time in 2009 while sitting next to him during the broadcast. She described the situation as “the weirdest and most creepy experience of my life”.
Vice Chancellor ‘delighted’
Julius Weinberg, Vice Chancellor of Kingston University, said: “I am delighted that Bonnie Greer has agreed to become Chancellor. Bonnie was the first person in her family to go to university and worked to support herself so that she could get her degree.
“In many ways Bonnie epitomises all that is special about Kingston University. We have been fortunate in being able to follow Sir Peter Hall who gave the University wise counsel and support with Bonnie.”