The new Chancellor of Leeds Met was announced today in the form of prominent businessman and former graduate Sir Bob Murray CBE. The role, mostly ceremonial, includes symbolic activities in relation to the university such as being an ambassador for the institution as well as handing over degrees to students come graduation day.
Sir Bob has a rich and colourful history with the North of England, being an active member of the community both in Leeds and Sunderland. After graduating with a degree in accountancy from what was then known as Leeds Polytechnic in 1973, Sir Bob entered the world of work and immediately made his mark in the industry, tackling jobs at a number of firms before becoming the Holding Company Director at Ladyship in 1975.
A philanthropist by nature, Sir Bob has used his expertise to set up numerous charitable organisations specialising in education and the relief of poverty. Perhaps the most notable of these is the Academy 360 educational institute which provides education to children from the ages of 4-16. Based in Sunderland, it is a reflection of the values that are held by the new Chancellor.
Sir Bob said: “I feel very privileged to have been invited to become the Chancellor of such an esteemed institution as Leeds Metropolitan University and was thrilled to accept. It is a highly-respected University that plays such an important role in developing the potential and talent of thousands of students from many different parts of the world.
“As a former graduate and as someone who has worked in Yorkshire for more than 40 years it will be a great honour to take on such a leading role with the University. I hope my experience and track record in business, lifelong focus on education, and passion for sport will give me the necessary qualities to support the University, its outstanding staff and the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals to achieve its ambitious and exciting aspirations.”
Many of you may already be familiar with the name Sir Bob Murray, particularly if you have a keen interest in football. Sir Bob spent 20 years at the helm of Sunderland AFC and in his capacity as chairman transformed the club from a third division team to a Premier league outfit. He was also the driving force behind the creation of the Stadium of Light, ensuring his legacy was forever printed on the club. It is no surprise to learn then Sir Bob was an influential player in the construction of St George’s Park, the F.A’s new state of the art training centre equipped to foster future talent. Sir Bob was awarded a CBE in 2002 and subsequently awarded a knighthood for services to charity and education in 2012.
Professor Susan Price, Vice Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan, said: “We are delighted that Sir Bob is to become Chancellor of our University. Sir Bob shares our core values and is passionate about both education and making a difference to people in their communities. We are proud of so many things here at our university: 9 out of 10 of our graduates are in work or continuing their studies within 6 months of leaving us; we have achieved our best ever student satisfaction ratings this year, and our newly launched Research Institutes showcase our internationally recognised research, making a difference to real life issues such as men’s health and sustainable futures. Myself and my colleagues are really looking forward to working with Sir Bob and I know he will be a fantastic champion for our university.”
The 65 year old certainly isn’t slowing down as he tackles his next role as chancellor of Leeds Met. Faced with university debt, staff cuts and potential student shortages, Sir Bob Murray will have to use all his previous experience to ensure that Leeds Met continues providing high class education to its 30,000 students.