Space industry expert Will is new Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University

Edinburgh Napier University has announced Will Whitehorn as its next Chancellor.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 4:45 pm

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The space industry pioneer and leading business executive was formerly president of Virgin Galactic and currently the head of UKSpace, a trade body for the space industry. This month he made headlines predicting the use of ‘electronic weapons in space’ and calling for the creation of a Royal Space Force to defend our satellites in future space conflicts. Commenting on the future of space and defence, he argued that space is going to become a much more ‘active’ area of conflict.

Mr Whitehorn, who grew up in Edinburgh and attended the University of Aberdeen, worked closely with Sir Richard Branson on his bid within the ‘billionaire space race’. The venture Virgin Galactic is competing with Elon Musk’s company SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin to be the first to offer commercial space tourism.

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New Napier chancellor: Will Whitehorn

Mr Whitehorn developed a keen interest in aircraft as a young boy, as he enjoyed watching planes take off from Edinburgh airport, and worked as crew on search and rescue helicopters early in his career. He is a prominent businessman who has held many boardroom positions in organisations including Good Energy, Purple Bricks and Stagecoach.

Whitehorn, 61, said: “I have a lot to thank Edinburgh for and I have a lot to thank my own good fortune for in achieving a place at the University of Aberdeen in 1977 and I never forget it. My career has been founded in my education.

“University should be an adventure and Edinburgh Napier does a better job of fulfilling that dream for students than many educational institutions around the country can even dream of.”

The role of chancellor is largely ceremonial, meaning Mr Whitehorn will become the titular head of the institution and will confer degrees and other awards of the University.

Edinburgh Napier is ranked 77th in the UK university league table, and it is the top modern university in Scotland. The previous chancellor was David Eustace, a ‘photographer of the stars’ known for capturing the faces of celebrities such as Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Judi Dench and Sophia Loren.

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