Plymouth Marjon University is set to install its first Chancellor, the Bishop of Plymouth, The Rt Reverend Nick McKinnel, on Monday at its annual graduation event.
Bishop Nick has been involved with Marjon since the early 1990s and became a governor in 2015. Now after serving two terms in the role, he has been invited to become Chancellor.
Chancellors act as the ‘ceremonial head’ of a university and play an important ambassador role. They are community facing, acting as an advocate for the university and helping to raise their profile, and playing a role in key events such as graduation.
The Bishop grew up in Devon and went on to work for international Christian relief and development charity, Tearfund, before studying Theology and becoming ordained in 1980. He has been a curate in London and University Chaplain at the University of Liverpool. Bishop Nick became the Bishop of Crediton, looking after North and East Devon before becoming the Bishop of Plymouth, and he now looks after West and South Devon. He oversees around 300 churches in the local area and played a key role in supporting the local community in the wake of the attack in Keyham this August.
Bishop Nick said: “I was honoured to be asked to take the role of Chancellor. I think it is a great way to use the experience I have with Marjon and to promote the life of the university.
“I know Marjon plays a critical role in introducing many people into higher education, by working with local schools and being part of the local community and wider church. There is a great energy here, a warm sense of community which we all value. There are so many students with different experiences, and it is great to see that feeding into amazing student feedback and incredibly positive results for the university in recent years.”
As the first ever Chancellor, Bishop Nick takes a strong interest in what is going on at the university as well as meeting students, hearing their stories and listening to how they feel. Bishop Nick’s first task as Chancellor is to congratulate students at the graduation event running from 25 to 28 October 2021 at the Plymouth Guildhall.
He will be formally installed as Chancellor in the first ceremony on Monday morning, by the Chair of Governors, Graham Raikes MBE. The Vice-Chancellor of Marjon, Professor Rob Warner, said, “We are both absolutely delighted that the Bishop of Plymouth has agreed to become the first Chancellor of Marjon. He is an outstanding advocate for the people and opportunities of our city and county.”
Last year’s graduation event was postponed due to the pandemic so this will be a very special experience as both the classes of 2020 and 2021 will be crossing the stage.