The former long-standing MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, Simon Hughes, has been formally appointed as the Chancellor of London South Bank University (LSBU).
The political grandee was appointed to the ceremonial role at a ceremony at the university’s Purcell Room on Thursday (1st November.)
In a speech given at the ceremony, Sir Simon pledged to work to make sure educational opportunities were available for all.
He said: “To be appointed your Chancellor is a further great privilege of my London life.
“LSBU is the creative university on the left bank of the Thames. Like the Sorbonne in Paris. Creative, challenging, dynamic and vibrant.
“Our job is to equip students of today and tomorrow with the academic, technical, emotional and mental strength to survive the challenges of life and make the greatest contribution.”
The veteran politician takes over from entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den panellist, Richard Farleigh in the four-year unpaid role.
Sir Simon also paid tribute to the support of his family, friends and colleagues, even in times of ‘loss, disappointment and embarrassment.’
He said: “In front of me today is not just my wonderful family but many others who have been very important parts of my life and education journey but also who have been huge support when in private and public life there has been personal loss, personal embarrassment and personal disappointment.
“I want to say a heartfelt thank you for your real support when even this most resilient of individuals needed to know as much as anyone that he was still loved and supported, and that family and friends really cared.”
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However, Sir Simon vowed that the role would not stop him from promoting the causes closest to his heart, adding that he would still campaign for Britain to remain the EU, for ‘respect’ for people from all backgrounds and a better financial settlement for students.
His installation was welcomed by Shakira Martin, the current president of the National Union of Students.
The former Lewisham and Southwark College student said: “There is much work to be done in the HE sector. I am sure Simon will use his experiences, networks and knowledge for the benefit of students at LSBU.”
London South Bank University currently has 17,000 students and was named the Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards in 2016.