The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has formally bestowed the role of Chancellor onto the international artist, Professor Magdalene Odundo OBE, at the first of the University’s graduation ceremonies, held today at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
A UCA alumna, Professor Odundo graduated from the West Surrey College of Art & Design - now UCA Farnham - in 1976 with a first-class degree in 3D Design: Ceramics, Printmaking & Photography. She has achieved international acclaim for her work, which has been collected in museums globally, and is known for being one of the world’s greatest contemporary potters.
Professor Odundo takes over the Chancellorship from Dame Zandra Rhodes, UCA’s first Chancellor and a fellow UCA alumna. Dame Zandra was also present at the ceremony and has today become Chancellor Emerita of UCA.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Bashir Makhoul said: “As our very first Chancellor, Dame Zandra will always have a particularly important place in the history and affections of UCA. An eclectic designer who has never been afraid to explore her creativity and challenge boundaries, Dame Zandra has been a source of inspiration for our staff and students, presiding over our ceremonies and acting as a revered figurehead for the last eight years. I would like to thank her for all she has done and continues to do to inspire, challenge and guide the next generation of creatives.”
Welcoming Professor Odundo to her new position, Professor Makhoul said: “I am delighted to present Professor Magdalene Odundo for her installation as Chancellor of this University. We are so proud to have someone who has achieved excellence in the creative arts, supports education so passionately and is a source of continued inspiration to our staff and students.”
Professor Odundo has a long history with UCA. In 1997 she returned to teach in Farnham and in 2001, UCA appointed her Professor of Ceramics – a post she held until her retirement in 2016, when UCA awarded her the lifelong title of Professor Emerita to recognise her contribution to the University’s research culture.
Professor Odundo said: “It is a privilege to be following in the footsteps of such a great artist and inspirational woman. Dame Zandra is going to be a difficult act to follow!
“I am very much looking forward to this new role as an ambassador for the University and the diverse creative disciplines that it teaches – but most of all, I am excited to share in the celebration and success of every single UCA graduate as they follow in the footsteps of our Oscar-winning film-makers and animators, fashion designers and Turner Prize nominated alumni. There’s never been a more exciting time to be part of the creative industries!”
UCA’s Graduation takes place across three ceremonies over the course of two days, during which more than 1,800 students are awarded their degrees in subject areas ranging from Architecture, Fine Art and Computer Games Arts, to Performing Arts, Fashion and Crafts. The three ceremonies celebrate and recognise the achievements of students from UCA’s campuses in Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham and Rochester, as well as students studying at the OCA and with UCA’s collaborative partners.
Banner image: Professor Magdalene Odundo and Dame Zandra Rhodes