Nisha Katona installed as Chancellor
Our new Chancellor Nisha Katona says LJMU is like a ‘mother of the city’ as “almost everyone in Merseyside has a connection with her.”
The food entrepreneur who runs 18 restaurants compared the university to her award-winning Mowgli chain, saying: “The door to her kitchen is known to be always open, the table is laid and the warm hearth is a place where dreams are nurtured.”
Accepting the role of Chancellor at a ceremony at the Metropolitan Cathedral on Saturday, the Ormskirk-born businesswoman, who is our first alumnus-Chancellor (Law, 1995), added: “This is home from home for so many. It's how I wanted Mowgli to feel and how I want to be. Homely salt and light, not airs and graces, are life.”
Nisha, who takes the role from Sir Brian Leveson, had special thanks for former Vice-Chancellor Peter Toyne, who helped inspire her in her stellar career: “I’m pleased that Peter is here today, he was my Vice-Chancellor when I graduated and I remember that day so clearly,” she said.
“His address to my graduating class was an impassioned plea to dream big, to follow our paths and to do so with integrity and authenticity.
“So far this has been the story of my life and I am so glad to be able to share the journey with the students of this university. The world is their oyster and their graduation is the threshold of all possibilities.”
Law graduate Nisha was a child protection barrister for 20 years before her switch to a career in indian cuisine made her a household name with four cookbooks and appearances on ITV’s Cooking with the Stars and BBC’s Masterchef. She also speaks at national level on entrepreneurship and women’s leadership.
Vice-Chancellor Mark Power told more than 100 guests – staff, alumni, civic leaders and partners: “We couldn’t wish for a better Chancellor at this moment in our history as we approach the 200th anniversary of the university – for students who are following in her footsteps to see in our Chancellor, a role model who has seized opportunity and achieved a remarkable level of success, in a number of different professions.”
Joining Mark in welcoming Nisha at the lectern were Chairman of the Board Mike Parker, former Student Union President Lila Tamea and outgoing Chancellor Sir Brian Leveson, who becomes Chancellor Emeritus.
Wishing Nisha well, Sir Brian said: “Being Chancellor has been thoroughly enjoyable and I am very proud to have been – at least to date - the longest serving Chancellor. I have also been delighted to have played a part in talking to Nisha about the role. I know I leave this office in very good hands indeed.”