Prue Leith installed as chancellor at QMU

Prue Leith, new judge on the Great British Bake Off, who was installed as QMU's new Chancellor.  Picture Ian Rutherford
Prue Leith, new judge on the Great British Bake Off, who was installed as QMU's new Chancellor. Picture Ian Rutherford
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New Great British Bake-Off judge Prue Leith was today installed as chancellor at a top Scots university.

The TV presenter and food entrepreneur, 77, was officially installed as the chancellor of Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, at a graduation ceremony.

Prue Leith at QMU. Picture Ian Rutherford

Prue Leith at QMU. Picture Ian Rutherford

Leith, who was recently announced as the new judge on The Great British Bake Off, takes over the role of chancellor from entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer.

She was joined by internationally renowned film producer Iain Smith who was awarded an honorary degree for services to the film industry.

Both attended an impressive ceremony in Edinburgh’s Usher Hall with 800 students and their families.

Professor Petra Wend, Principal of Queen Margaret University, said: “Prue Leith is a highly respected public figure who has strong beliefs about the importance of education and in its transformational impact on society.

“She has contributed significantly to the food and hospitality landscape of the UK, having worked successfully as a food entrepreneur, as well as highlighting the UK’s culinary talent and promoting good food health for all.

“She has become concerned about the care and rights of people who are elderly or dying, and is involved with the ‘Dignity in Dying’ campaign and the Campaign for Better Hospital Food.

“She is also active in tackling inequalities, promoting entrepreneurship and supporting and nurturing young talent.”

Hollywood film producer Iain Smith, 68, was awarded an honorary degree for services to the UK and the international film industry.

He is known for his involvement in a variety of feature films and cult classics including The Fifth Element, Cold Mountain, Children of Men and Mad Max: Fury Road.

Dr Richard Butt, Deputy Principal of Queen Margaret University, presented Iain’s oration during the graduation ceremony.

He said: “Iain describes himself as a globally inclined film producer and the reach of his work is indeed worldwide.

“However, he has never lost his connection with a cinema which is rooted in cultural history and which provides a sense of authenticity, evident in examples of his work.

“Aside from his outstanding achievements as a world-class film producer, he has continued to guide the development of the creative industries and to nurture new talent through master classes, his support of training boards and film academies, and his involvement in the production of small budget films.”

Principal, Professor Petra Wend, concluded: “We are delighted to officially welcome Prue Leith to her new position of Chancellor of Queen Margaret University and to her first QMU graduation ceremony.

“We are also honoured that today our students have also learned about Iain Smith’s most impressive career.

“Iain’s care for the film industry and respect for its audiences, his creative risk taking, his tremendous leadership and management skills as a producer, exemplify many of the values that to which QMU ascribes.

“We are therefore pleased to recognise his considerable achievements with the award of Degree of Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa.

Professor Wend added: “Both Prue Leith and Iain Smith are highly influential individuals whose accomplishments in their specialist areas reflect the relevance of the university’s work, particularly across our flagship areas of sustainable business, health and rehabilitation, and creativity and culture.

“These two individuals fit well with QMU’s aim of serving communities, improving lives and our vision to be a university of ideas and influence.”