Dr Helen Pankhurst has been named as the University of Suffolk’s first Chancellor.
Dr Pankhurst is a writer, academic, women’s right activist and senior adviser to CARE International, working in the UK and Ethiopia. She is a trustee of ActionAid and a Visiting Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Dr Pankhurst 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’s book, Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women’s Rights, Then and Now, was released to coincide with the anniversary. It has been highly praised and is being used to highlight not only the progress made over the last 100 years but how far we still need to go. Dr Pankhurst has spent a large proportion of the centenary year (of when propertied women over the age of 30 were granted the right to vote) to celebrate, highlight and to speak out.
Dr Pankhurst will be the University’s first Chancellor since the University gained independence status in 2016, it was previously known as University Campus Suffolk.
Professor William Pope, Chair of the University’s Board said, “Since we gained independence, the University’s Board have carefully considered the role and profile of our ideal first Chancellor. We are confident that in Dr Helen Pankhurst we have found that. Dr Pankhurst’s values very much align to those of the University and our vision for the future. We are looking forward to working with her and the great contributions she will bring.”
Dr Helen Pankhurst said of the appointment, “I am delighted to accept the position of Chancellor at the University of Suffolk. At its core the University is about encouraging positive change, this is something I am passionate about. As an advocate of inclusivity and equality, I share the University's mission of encouraging access to higher education, which can provide greater opportunities to thrive. Everyone should have ambitions - individuals can change the world. Out of small steps, whole institutions and communities can be transformed.”
Professor Helen Langton, Vice Chancellor of the University, added, “We are really excited that Dr Helen Pankhurst is to become our Chancellor. Her academic profile alongside her passion for empowerment and change resonates so well with our values at the University of Suffolk. In this historic year, in which we are marking 100 years when most women gained the right to vote, it is fitting that the University of Suffolk now has three women leading the institution and the Students’ Union. We are proud to welcome Helen to the University as our first Chancellor.”
The news about Dr Pankhurst’s appointment comes ahead of the Women’s Rights, Women’s Votes event taking place at the University on Saturday 6 October.
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