University Of Kent appoints YolanDa Brown as chancellor

University Of Kent appoints YolanDa Brown as chancellor

The University of Kent has appointed MOBO-winning musician, broadcaster and BPI chair YolanDa Brown OBE DL to the role of chancellor. 

Brown succeeds Gavin Esler, who has retired from the position after almost 10 years in the role.

Yolanda Brown graduated with a first-class undergraduate masters degree in European Management Science with Spanish from the university’s Kent Business School, before going on to achieve her second masters degree and undertake a PhD.

She will be installed as chancellor during one of the University’s graduation ceremonies in July.

As well as releasing albums and touring with The Temptations, Jools Holland, Billy Ocean, Dave Stewart and more, Brown was chair of Youth Music for six years and is currently a sitting member of the Arts Council, chair of the BPI, an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, and was recently appointed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as a member of the Arts and Media Honours committee.

In her new title as chancellor, Brown’s duties will include conferring degrees, chairing the university’s court and representing the university on special occasions. She takes up the role at a time when the university is preparing to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

The University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Karen Cox, said: “I am delighted that YolanDa Brown is to become the university’s seventh chancellor. Her passion for, commitment to and experience in education make her perfect for the role, with her tireless and innovative support for young people also making her an outstanding and inspirational role model.

“I have no doubt she will be incredibly popular with our students, staff and alumni, all of whom will make her feel very welcome when she returns to the University in July.”

YolanDa Brown OBE DL said: “My time at the University of Kent was character building, life affirming, and a bucket full of emotions. Every single time I am on campus a new memory returns, so you can imagine my joy accepting this role as Chancellor. The University Of Kent has always been at the forefront of fostering a diverse, inclusive, and vibrant community. Its dedication to providing outstanding education, promoting research that makes a real-world difference, and its unwavering support for students from all walks of life resonate deeply with my own values.

“I am excited to work alongside the talented staff, and students to build on this foundation as the university strives towards new heights of achievement.”

Brown has also represented the university on the BBC’s Celebrity University Challenge.


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