The battle for University of Manchester Chancellor is now over, as Lemn Sissay MBE – one of Manchester’s and, indeed, the country’s finest poets – has won.
Mr Sissay has beaten former Labour politician Lord Peter Mandelson and Hallé music director Sir Mark Elder, in the election for the chancellorship of the university.
Upon learning of the news himself, the 48-year old publicised it via Facebook saying, “When I speak at The Library of Congress in Washington DC in The United States of America on July 6th 2015, I will do so as a poet and as Chancellor of The University of Manchester”.
As thousands of congratulatory Facebook and Twitter messages flowed in, the 48-year old writer thanked the public for their votes, citing “I am proud to be Chancellor of this fantastic University and extremely grateful to everyone who voted for me. Thank you for your votes and kind wishes”.
In a ballot of university staff and former students, Mr Sissay received 7,131 votes while Sir Mark polled 5,483 and Lord Mandelson gained 5,269 votes.
Mr Sissay will start the seven-year role on 1 August, replacing current chancellor, property developer Tom Bloxham MBE, the founder of Manchester-based company Urban Splash.
The university chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University and as such acts as a figurehead and an ambassador, working with the President and Vice-Chancellor and other senior officers. The purpose of the role is to promote the University’s achievements regionally, nationally and internationally.
When it comes to credentials, Mr Sissay – an author of books of poetry – boasts an excellent list including an MBE, the artist in residence at London’s Southbank Centre, Honorary Doctor of Letters awarded by University of Huddersfield, 2015 FA Cup poet and much more.
Best known locally for his public poems installed across Manchester, the writer also has poems across London in Canary Wharf, at the Olympic Park and Royal Festival Hall.
Congratulations from TNT, Lemn!
TNT News Yasin Chinembiri