Durham University: Chancellor to step down after ‘glorious’ decade

Our Chancellor, Sir Thomas Allen, is to step down from his post after more than ten years in the role.

‘Spectacular service’

The Chancellor is the Head of the University and the role includes ceremonial, pastoral, scholarly and ambassadorial duties.

Sir Thomas is one of the longest serving Chancellors in our history, which stretches back nearly 200 years.

He has taken great pleasure in presiding at our Congregation ceremonies and, as an international opera singer, has performed alongside our students at a number of high-profile concerts, including for Prince Charles in Durham Cathedral.

Reflecting on his service, Joe Docherty, Chair of our supreme governing body, University Council, said: “Sir Thomas has devoted time, passion and commitment to the University over the last decade, across so many fronts.”

Professor Antony Long, our Acting Vice-Chancellor and Warden, added that he had given spectacular service to the University and been an excellent embodiment of our values in all that he has undertaken in the role.

Sir Thomas will step down in July 2022, after presiding at our summer graduation ceremonies.

An international search for his successor is now underway.

About Sir Thomas

Sir Thomas was born in Seaham Harbour, a few miles from Durham.

His route to musical stardom began in the 1960s when his talent was recognised and his school’s headmaster arranged for him to visit Professor Arthur Hutchings in our Music Department. Prof Hutchings then arranged an interview for him at the Royal College of Music.

Sir Thomas has won worldwide acclaim for the many singing roles he has taken, and has been described as the best British lyric baritone in the second half of the 20th Century.

Sir Thomas Allen Appeal Fund

In honour of his contribution to the development of the University, a Sir Thomas Allen Appeal Fund has been established.

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