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Archbishop installed as first Chancellor

12 December 2005

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been installed as Canterbury Christ Church University’s first Chancellor at Canterbury Cathedral today (Monday 12th December).

Photo of the Bishop of Dover, The Right Reverend Stephen Venner and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams
Pro-Chancellor, The Right Reverend Stephen Venner, installs the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, as the University's Chancellor.

View more images from the ceremony.

The installation of the Archbishop as Chancellor of the University was part of a special ceremony to inaugurate Canterbury Christ Church University which was granted full university title by the Privy Council from 1st August 2005.

This is a unique appointment for the Archbishop of Canterbury and the robe he wore at today’s ceremony was specially made for his position as the University’s Chancellor. The Archbishop’s role as Chancellor will be an honorary one with the chief duties devolved to the University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Wright. The Archbishop will be present at some degree congregations and other appropriate occasions.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Archbishop said: “A university with a Christian foundation, like Canterbury Christ Church University, has a contribution to make to the community of this country and the world. I will endeavour at all times to uphold the rights and privileges, honour and integrity of this University.”

You can read a full transcript of the Chancellor's address on our Inauguration pages.

Representing the Queen at the ceremony, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Allan Willett CMG, said: “It gives me the greatest pleasure to congratulate Canterbury Christ Church University on achieving full university status. The contribution this University makes to Kent is immense and I am delighted for the staff and students.”

Photo taken in the Cathedral
(Centre) left to right:
Deputy Pro-Chancellor, Peter Hermitage;
Pro-Chancellor, The Right Reverend Stephen Venner;
Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams;
and Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Wright.

Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Wright, said: “We are honoured and delighted that the Archbishop of Canterbury has agreed to be our Chancellor since it affirms the relationship between the Canterbury Christ Church University and the Church of England. We shall seek to ensure that we build upon the vision which inspired the Church of England to establish Canterbury Christ Church over 40 years ago.

He continued: “This is naturally a particularly proud day for Canterbury Christ Church University as it represents the culmination of the journey towards full university title which began well over ten years ago. University title both recognises that we have earned our position as a full member of the higher education community and ensures the achievements of our students are fully recognised.”

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is renowned for academic excellence and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and community spirit. The University is the largest centre of higher education in Kent for the public services – notably teacher training, nursing, social care and policing. Teaching and research work is grouped within the four major faculties - Arts and Humanities, Business and Sciences, Education, and Health and Social Care. A wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and other programmes are offered at the four campuses across Kent (at Canterbury, Broadstairs, Chatham and Tunbridge Wells) to a student population of approximately 14,000. Students are of all ages and backgrounds, both British and international, and they benefit from a unique, supportive, enjoyable and successful experience.

Award of university title

Canterbury Christ Church was awarded full university title by the Privy Council in July 2005 and it has been known as Canterbury Christ Church University since 1 August 2005.

The history of the application for university title goes back to 1992 when the former polytechnics became universities. Christ Church College, however, was not in a position to seek the title then as it did not have taught degree awarding powers. These powers were gained in 1995 and, after the university college title was awarded in 1998, the institution's strategic aim was to achieve university title.

The criteria for full university title require an institution to have a minimum of 4,000 full-time equivalent students, a successful record in exercising its degree awarding powers and the ability to meet a wide range of other indicators including the research and scholarship activities of its academic staff.

During the past year, Canterbury Christ Church successfully demonstrated that it met these criteria. In addition, it could not have achieved university status if the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and other quality assurance organisations did not have confidence in the quality and standards of provision. Following the 2005 Institutional Audit, the Quality Assurance Agency awarded the University the highest level of confidence which can be granted.

Appointment of the Chancellor

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been appointed, by virtue of office, as Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University.

The Chancellor is the honorary head of the institution and, as his diary permits, he will be present at some degree congregations and on other appropriate occasions.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Michael Wright, is the University's chief executive and academic leader. He is accountable to the Governing Body of the University. The Governing Body is chaired by the Pro-Chancellor, the Right Reverend Stephen Venner, Bishop of Dover, having been elected by its members to be Chairman.

Biography of Dr Rowan Williams

Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Swansea on 14 June 1950. He was educated at Dynevor Secondary School and at Christ’s College Cambridge where he read Theology. After research in Oxford (on Christianity in Russia), he spent two years as a lecturer at Mirfield Theological College near Leeds and then nine years in academic and parochial work in Cambridge. From 1986-1992, he was Lady Margaret Professor of Theology at Oxford.

Dr Williams was enthroned as Bishop of Monmouth in 1992 and Archbishop of Wales in 2000. He was confirmed as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury on 2 December 2002 in St Paul’s Cathedral, London and enthroned in Canterbury Cathedral on 27 February 2003.

Dr Williams has written a number of books on many aspects of theology and spirituality and published collections of articles and sermons – as well as two books of poetry. He has been involved in various commissions on theology and theological education and was a member of the Church Schools Review Group led by Lord Dearing.

Dr Williams is a Fellow of the British Academy. His interests include music, fiction and languages.

Since 1981, Dr Williams has been married to Jane Paul, a lecturer in theology, whom he met while living and working in Cambridge. They have a son and a daughter.

For media enquiries:

Claire Robinson
01227 782391