Dudley Comedian Takes University Top Spot

Comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry has been appointed chancellor of Birmingham City University.

Sir Lenny's uptake is the first time the figurehead role has been given to someone other than the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. It comes after the actor and comedian visited the University last year, to see how it opened doors to the creative arts for young people from a range of diverse backgrounds.

57-year-old Henry, who was knighted last year for services to drama and charity, said the role was a "superb opportunity" to promote the West Midlands and help young people. He added:

"The University has facilities that rival anything in the television industry and is right in the centre of a city that has changed beyond recognition in recent years.

"It offers the sort of contemporary education I would have killed for when I was a kid."

BCU runs many highly regarded creative courses, including degrees in all aspects of media which started the careers of TV presenter, Kirsten O'Brien and Midlands Today anchor, Mary Rhodes.

Birmingham School of Acting has a list of alumni including Coronation Street actress, Catherine Tyldesley, and Jewellery courses on offer are some of the only remaining degrees in the country to teach trades including silversmithing and gemmology.

The University has also invested heavily in the last 3 years, opening the £62 million Parkside building in 2013. The adjoining Curzon bulding opened last year and a new home for Birmingham Consevatoire, headed up by Julian Lloyd Webber, is set to open next year.

Professor Cliff Allan, vice-chancellor of the university, said: "We are absolutely delighted that one of the country's most well-known personalities is to be our new Chancellor.

"He not only encapsulates the university's commitment to both the arts and widening participation, but he is a strong advocate for Birmingham and the region, including his home town of Dudley."


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