Breaking: Dr Fiona Hill to become Durham’s new Chancellor

By Waseem Mohamed

Durham University have announced that Dr Fiona Hill will become the next Chancellor of the University, after her nomination for the role was “overwhelmingly supported” following a joint sitting of the Council and Senate today (28th November).

Dr Hill, who was born and grew up in Bishop Auckland in County Durham, is set to be officially installed as Chancellor in a formal ceremony at Durham Cathedral next summer. It comes after the previous Chancellor, Sir Thomas Allen, stepped back from duties this year having served a decade in the role.

Having studied at the likes of St Andrews and Harvard Universities, Dr Hill spent a large part of her career serving as a presidential advisor in the USA, having served under the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations across numerous positions. She is described as being an “acclaimed foreign affairs specialist and authority on Russian and European geopolitics”.

Dr Hill’s selection as Chancellor comes after a long and “inclusive” selection process, which involved members of the University community putting forward nominations on who should take up the role next. Key selection criteria for the new Chancellor included that they embraced the University’s values, and recognised the importance of education, learning and research.

“It is an immense privilege, surprise and honour to be selected as the next Chancellor of Durham University”

Dr fiona hill

The Chancellor serves as the ceremonial head of the University, and undertakes several key responsibilities such as presiding over Congregation ceremonies, participating in student and staff engagement activities and help raise the University’s profile. Dr Hill will only be the 5th person to serve as a Durham Chancellor, after the role was first established in 1971.

Upon her selection, Dr Hill said she was “very much looking forward to becoming more involved in University life”, and said “it is an immense privilege, surprise and honour to be selected as the next Chancellor of Durham University in the county where generations of my family have deep roots and where I spent my formative years”.

Joe Docherty, head of the University Council, hailed Dr Hill’s appointment, saying that she will “serve as a living embodiment of the transformative powers of education and research and help to inspire our University community, especially our students, to achieve extraordinary things at Durham and beyond.”

That sentiment was shared by Vice-Chancellor Karen O’Brien, who said that “Fiona’s outstanding career as an exemplary public servant will resonate strongly amongst our University community, especially in light of her beginnings in the North East of England. We are truly honoured she has agreed to be our next Chancellor”.

Image Credit – Kuhlmann/MSC via Wikimedia Commons

One thought on “Breaking: Dr Fiona Hill to become Durham’s new Chancellor

  • Excellent news that Dr Fiona Hill will be the new Chancellor, what a wonderful appointment!


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