University Chancellor

Dr Gyles Brandreth 

Former Chester MP, Dr Gyles Brandreth, succeeded the Duke of Westminster in March 2017 as Chancellor for the University of Chester. 

“Chester is a University of achievement and ambition and it's a great privilege to be invited to play a part in its ongoing story.”
Dr Gyles Brandreth

The voluntary role of Chancellor is primarily ceremonial, officiating at Graduation ceremonies and representing the University at other formal occasions. Chancellors can advise universities objectively, in the capacity of a ‘critical friend, drawing on their own professional experience.’ They are usually also chosen for their association with an institution, its work and its surrounding communities and have often held public office.

As Conservative MP for the City of Chester between 1992 and 1997, Gyles was a campaigner for the institution to be granted university status. This ambition was realised in 2005, and he has followed the University’s progress since with keen interest. In public life, he was a Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in John Major’s Government. The ability to hold civil weddings at venues other than registry offices is thanks to his Private Member’s Bill (subsequently the 1994 Marriage Act).

Perhaps now best known for his BBC broadcasting career, with regular appearances on The One Show and Just a Minute, Gyles is also: a prolific author of both fictional, biographical and autobiographical works; an accomplished classical actor and musical performer; and a witty journalist and political diarist. As Countdown’s most frequent visitor to Dictionary Corner, alongside Susie Dent, Gyles revived his penchant for colourful jumpers for an episode of Countdown in November 2017, wearing a bespoke University of Chester knitted jumper proclaiming ‘Chancellor’.

As Vice-President of Fields in Trust (formerly the National Playing Fields Association) he is a champion of open spaces. The many causes he endorses range from Third World, medical and homeless charities, to those benefiting pets and wildlife, and he is patron of a number of cultural activities and organisations.

Gyles was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University in 2014, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the arts and to acknowledge his time as Chester’s elected representative.