Summary: Inaugural Address
Title: A transcript of the Vice-Chancellor's Inaugural Address, delivered 23 November 2009
As I start my seventh week as Vice-Chancellor, this occasion provides a timely opportunity to share with you
some early observations on the University and its future as well as telling you a little more about myself.
In my first weeks, I've been well served by the briefings prepared in advance of my arrival and a series of
meetings with members of the University community. These have provided critical observations and insights
that have helped me get better oriented. Also, they have exposed me to the wide range of views that exist in
the University community. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to participate in these processes,
and indicate my intention to maintain high levels of communication and dialogue with the University
It is clear that over the past decade the University of Southampton has enjoyed significant progress in
performance and reputation. Frankly, it's what attracted me to come back here. The University has much to
be grateful for in the leadership provided by my predecessor, Sir William Wakeham, and many of you here
today. I suspect that Bill Wakeham timed his departure to perfection.
I have joined the University at a point when our external environment is changing from one that has been
relatively generous to higher education, to one that will not be. Whoever wins the next election; we can
reasonably predict a squeeze on public sector finance. And this is certain to have an impact on funding for
higher education and research.
In such an environment, quality in education and research will matter greatly. Innovation will be essential,
change will be inevitable. And this will involve and affect all of us in the university community. Today, I hope