Dr Helen Pankhurst has visited the University of Suffolk ahead of her installation as Chancellor later this month.
It was announced in the autumn that Dr Pankhurst, who is a writer, academic, women’s right activist and senior adviser to CARE International, would be the University’s first Chancellor.
Dr Pankhurst is a trustee of ActionAid and a Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University. She is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, leaders of the British suffragette movement. Her appointment as Chancellor comes in the centenary year when some women gained the right to vote.
Dr Pankhurst met with students and staff at the University, touring the facilities including the Sport Science labs, the clinical skills suite used by Health Science students and the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre, which houses The Suffolk Centre for Female Entrepreneurship.
Students met with Dr Pankhurst during a lunchtime event where signed copies of her recently published book, Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now, were available to purchase.
Dr Pankhurst said of her visit, “It was an opportunity to understand the priorities of the University. It came across that there is a strong link between wanting to provide a practical experience, as real to the actual working environment as possible, there is a lot of focus on that and a lot of time and space is given. Some of the health areas look like a real hospital, the facilities in terms of the Arts; it is practical; it is not just a case of watching from a distance. The use of modern technology was impressive too, for example the radiotherapy area.”
Dr Pankhurst said it was how her values aligned with the University’s which attracted her to the role of Chancellor “Individuals can make a difference, the sense of empowering individuals to have the confidence to develop skills and learning to change not only their own lives but also their communities. I feel that is a spirit within the University and it absolutely appealed to me. The close link between the University and the community; wanting to explore things together, to develop strategies, curricula on what is required locally but also on the potential to transform the individual and the community.”
Dr Pankhurst will be officially installed as the University’s first Chancellor on 20 December.
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