Press Office


Sir Liam Donaldson re-appointed as Chancellor


Newcastle University has announced the re-appointment of Professor Sir Liam Donaldson as its Chancellor for a second term.

A global leader in public health and health care quality and safety, Sir Liam was the Chief Medical Officer for England and the UK’s Chief Medical Adviser from 1998 to 2010. He was only the 15th person to hold this historic post since it was established in 1855, and the longest serving in modern times.

As the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam served six Health Secretaries and two Prime Ministers, producing a series of ground-breaking reports and policy initiatives that helped shape public health, NHS care and clinical practice. These included: smoke-free public places, regulated stem cell research, creation of the concept of clinical governance, establishment of a health protection service and a comprehensive approach to patient safety.

Sir Liam led the Government’s response to a number of health issues and emergencies including: the SARS outbreak, the H1N1 influenza pandemic and the Harold Shipman investigations.

Internationally, Sir Liam served as member and Vice-Chairman of the World Health Organisation’s Executive Board and conceived of, founded, and led the World Alliance for Patient Safety, an initiative that has done much to improve patient care on a global scale.

He has met and worked with Health Ministers, Chief Medical Officers and public health leaders across the world and is currently the World Health Organisation Director-General’s envoy on patient safety and chairs the International Monitoring Board on polio eradication.

The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the University and plays a key advisory role as well as being a public representative and senior ambassador.  The Chancellor officiates at many of the University's degree ceremonies and has an important external and internal profile. Sir Liam’s first tenure as the Chancellor of the University started in 2009.

Sir Liam said: “I am delighted to be re-appointed as the Chancellor of Newcastle University and look forward to my second term. My role enables me help the University promote its commitment to teaching, learning and research of the highest quality. The University wonderfully combines the roles of civic university and global reach.” 

Sir Liam’s long list of honours and awards includes a knighthood in 2002, 15 honorary degrees from British universities, the Gold Medal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, and a Picker Institute Award for leadership in patient-centred care.

Professor Chris Brink, Newcastle University’s Vice-Chancellor, said:  “Sir Liam has demonstrated excellence and outstanding accomplishments throughout his prestigious career and we are very fortunate to have him as our Chancellor for another term. Sir Liam brings a real insight into our meetings of Court and great warmth to our graduation ceremonies.

“Most recently he presided over our first ever graduation ceremony of doctors from our medical campus in Malaysia, which helped make it a very memorable occasion for our students.”


published on: 8 July 2014