Emeli Sande to honour parents after being named university chancellor

She will take over from Steve Cram as chancellor at the University of Sunderland. 

Emeli Sande will hand academic honours to her own parents after being named chancellor at the University of Sunderland.  The singer was born in the city and her parents Diane and Joel both studied at the university in the 1980s.  In her first ceremony as chancellor, Sande will confer honours on her parents, who were unable to make their own graduations because of her birth in 1987. Sande will become the next chancellor of the university in July, taking over from Olympian Steve Cram. 

The singer has said she wants to help students see their value and break through barriers. Education and music are both central to who I am and I believe that both have the power to change lives for the better, she said: “Education and music are both central to who I am and I believe that both have the power to change lives for the better.  I am delighted that I can combine my passions in this new role, “Sunderland was home to my parents while they were studying.  I’ve always felt a strong connection to the city so it is a great personal honour for me to accept the role of chancellor of the university. I plan to use my time as chancellor to help others see their worth, realise their potential and break down barriers, whether real or imagined.” 

Sande herself studied at the University of Glasgow, where she gained a degree in neuroscience, before pursuing a career in music. Her Zambian father met her English mother while they were both at what was then Sunderland Polytechnic, which became the University of Sunderland in 1992.  Sande grew up in Scotland.

  The university’s vice-chancellor, Sir David Bell, said: “Emeli breaks the mould when it comes to university chancellors.  She represents a different generation and is someone of immense standing in her chosen profession. We are thrilled that Emeli has agreed to become the chancellor of the University of Sunderland as her values chime with our own. She is a committed advocate for social justice, gender equality and access to education. She will be an outstanding role model for our students, graduates and staff.” 

Sande was given an MBE in 2017 for her services to music. 

© Press Association 2019

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