The University of Southampton has appointed Justine Greening and Lord Patel of Bradford as its two new chancellors.

This is the first time the university has appointed two chancellors, with the pair succeeding American comedian Ruby Wax.

The Chancellor acts as an ambassador and has a ceremonial role involving presiding over degree ceremonies at graduation.

The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mark E. Smith said: “We would like to offer our sincere thanks to Ruby Wax for her support and enthusiasm as our Chancellor.

“She has always been hugely well-received by graduating students and staff as Presiding Officer at our Graduation ceremonies.

“I look forward to working with our dual Chancellors in support of our growth and continued success.

“They bring expansive knowledge, insight and networks in areas of deep interest to us and a clear and welcome interest in connecting with the people who are at the heart of our world-class university.”

Justine Greening studied at the University of Southampton and graduated in 1990 with a degree in Business Economics and Accounting.

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She was elected Conservative MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields in 2005 and remained an MP until 2019 and even acted as Secretary of State for Education from 2016 to 2018.

The ex-MP said: “I am honoured to be offered the role of Chancellor for the university that has played such an important part in my life and career.

“I have been immensely proud of all that the university has achieved and, in particular, I have found the work Southampton is doing on social mobility and widening participation to be truly inspiring.”

Lord Patel began his career as a social worker, later moving into academia and government roles relating to health, education and social care.

He was made an OBE in 1999 for services to ethnic minority health issues.

Lord Patel is Chair of the India Business Group and already has links to the university, as a patron for The India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.

He said: “I am delighted to take up this ambassadorial role at the University of Southampton and I will do my very best to contribute to the university’s continuing development, growth and success.”