Award-winning Nigerian public servant installed as Rector of UK University

Martina Chukwuma-Ezike atop student mascot Angus the Bull during installation as Rector of Aberdeen University.

THE new Rector of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom, Martina Chukwuma-Ezike, has been officially installed in the role in time-honoured tradition on Friday at the King’s College Chapel.

The ceremony began with a colourful academic procession representing civic, student and academic life in Aberdeen, after which Chukwuma-Ezike was carried by students along the High Street atop Angus the Bull, a decades-old tradition marking the installation of a new Rector.

She then took to the stage at Elphinstone Lawn to address students attending the University’s ‘Live on the Lawn’ event, which is being held to celebrate the University’s diverse student population.

In her speech, the new rector expressed joy at the opportunity to serve in the capacity and promised to deliver on all key issues raised in her manifesto, including mental health support, student safety and welfare, and employability skills.

“As a graduate of the University it is an honour to represent its students, and I look forward to working with AUSA (Aberdeen University Student Association) and the student community.

“I’d like to thank all those who worked alongside me and who voted for me in the Rector elections, as well as everyone who has worked tirelessly in making today’s ceremony a memorable experience,” she said.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University George Boyne, said: “As a graduate, Martina has a long association with the University and with our students, many of whom have benefited from mentoring, volunteering and work placement opportunities through her leadership of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.

He added: “I am delighted that she has returned to the University as Rector, and on behalf of the academic community I am pleased to welcome her to this important role.”

AUSA Student President Alisa Koester, added: “We are thrilled to finally have a Rector in place to support and represent our students. Electing Martina shows us that students need a Rector that actively engages with the life, issues and concerns on campus and beyond. We are looking forward to working with Martina on improving student wellbeing and mental health.”

Martina was voted in by students following an election in November and began her three-year tenure on 1 January. A University graduate, she is Chief Executive of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, Scotland’s only dedicated asthma charity, which she founded in 2009.

She has a range of skills and experience occupying several management positions within the oil and gas sector and from her time leading Asthma and Allergy Foundation with national reach in the UK.

Martina has demonstrated herself to be a powerful advocate in her professional role and has won several awards for community service and being relevant in various roles. She was recently recognised alongside nineteen other women for making a significant contribution to the Northeast of Scotland by the Lord Provost of Aberdeen, George Adam.

University staff and students, along with representatives from the City and Aberdeenshire Councils, Incorporated Trades, alumni, guests and family attended the ceremony in King’s College Chapel which included a performance from the University’s Chapel Choir.

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