New Chancellor confirmed

23 November 2007

Dr Brian May CBE has been confirmed as the new Chancellor for LJMU following a unanimous decision by the University's Governing Body.

Sir Malcolm Thornton, Dr Brian May and Professor Michael Brown

Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Board, Sir Malcolm Thornton said today: "On behalf of the governing body of Liverpool John Moores University, I am delighted to announce that Brian May will be the new Chancellor of LJMU. Not only is Brian an icon in his own sphere but he is a real academic star as well. He perfectly embodies the 'can do' attitude of LJMU; he is going to be a great Chancellor for the students and a wonderful figurehead for the University."

Brian May's involvement with the University began earlier this year when he was awarded the University's highest honour, becoming an Honorary Fellow during LJMU's summer graduation ceremonies.

His Fellowship was awarded in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the arts, but more significantly for encouraging the public understanding of science following publication of his renowned book Bang! The Complete History of the Universe.

Dr May co-authored the book with Chris Lintott and Sir Patrick Moore; Patrick Moore is also a Fellow of LJMU and a long standing supporter of the University's internationally acclaimed Astrophysics Research Institute, whose world-class research, work with schoolchildren, and development of robotic telescopes earned them a Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2005.

Professor Mike Bode, Director of LJMU's Astrophysics Research Institute said: "I am absolutely delighted to learn that Dr Brian May is to be the next Chancellor of the University. He had a very hard choice to make in his mid-twenties - whether to pursue a career in science or music. Well, he chose the latter, but never forgot the former. It is in fact a tribute to him, and a measure of his great interest in the nature of our Universe, that he recently completed his PhD in astrophysics after putting it to one side for so many years. Fittingly, he performed his original observational work in the Canaries where the University owns and operates one of the world's most sophisticated telescopes. We look forward to sharing some observational work with him in the future, and I think he will be amazed at how our capabilties have advanced over the years."

Brian studied Astrophysics at Imperial College, London and gained his BSc before progressing to a PhD. He put his academic career on hold to concentrate on his musical ambitions and more than 30 years later, in October 2007, Brian completed his PhD thesis A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud and was awarded his doctorate.

Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Michael Brown commented: "Brian May is an intensely talented individual who achieved global success with Queen. In this age of celebrity culture, it is rare to find someone who has fame, fortune and universal acclaim and yet who remains true to his core values of learning and enlightenment.  When Brian returned to his studies and completed his PhD this year he earned the respect of students and academics the world over. Brian is a man of the utmost integrity and we are honoured and privileged that he has agreed to become our Chancellor."

Brian follows Cherie Booth QC who held the position of Chancellor for an extended period of seven years from 1999 to 2006. Cherie Booth continues as an active and committed ambassador for the University in her role as Chancellor Emeritus.

Cherie Booth said: "I am absolutely delighted to welcome Brian May as my successor. At LJMU we sum up our ethos in three words: Dream, Plan, Achieve. It is a driving force that perfectly represents the ambitions of our students and our academics. Brian certainly had a dream and nothing deterred him from achieving his PhD, I am sure that he will be a real champion for LJMU and a tremendous role model and inspiration for all of our students."

Dr Brian May, LJMU's new Chancellor, received an Honorary Fellowship from the University in July 2007.












The University's Chancellor plays a vital role in raising the profile of the institution acting as an ambassador for the University and its staff and students. 

Professor Brown added: "In many universities, the role of Chancellor is largely ceremonial, however, at LJMU whilst the Chancellor is clearly a figurehead, the role is much more than that and the Chancellor Emeritus, Cherie Booth, made an enormous contribution to the University during her tenure. 

"LJMU is currently going through a period of immense change and we recently announced a far reaching and ambitious strategy to develop the experience we offer students in terms of skills development.  Brian has been tremendously encouraging in this development and declared himself a true ally in our ambitions." 

Brian May will be installed as the fourth Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University during a special ceremony early in the new year.

Brian May said: "This is a great honour and a great new challenge for me. Of course, I am already familiar with the LJMU Astrophysics team and their work with robotic telescopes and I look forward to visiting the LJMU telescope in La Palma very soon. I agree wholeheartedly with the LJMU ethos of dream, plan, achieve - such simple words but they summarise perfectly the educational experience that LJMU provides, changing people's lives and helping individuals to reach their goals and realise their dreams. I am completely committed to what LJMU terms the 'WOW' factor - the World of Work programme that is integral to all of their degree programmes. This is the start of my journey with LJMU and I am looking forward to discovering more about the University and the people that make LJMU such a unique place of learning."


  • Top: Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Board, Sir Malcolm Thornton, LJMU's new Chancellor Dr Brian May and Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Brown.

  • Bottom: Dr Brian May, LJMU's new Chancellor, received an Honorary Fellowship from the University in July 2007.

Page last modified by Corporate Communications on 23 November 2007.
LJMU Logo banner imageLJMU Logo banner image (print)
LJMU banner image
LJMU Dream, Plan Achieve - Page ID:92016