World-renowned ceramicist becomes UCA Chancellor

Professor Magdalene Odundo takes over the role from Dame Zandra Rhodes, University for the Creative Arts' first Chancellor and a fellow UCA alumna

The University for the Creative Arts (UCA) has formerly bestowed the role of Chancellor onto the international artist, Professor Magdalene Odundo OBE, at the first of the University’s graduation ceremonies, held on 25 June 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.

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 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.”

“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 filmmakers and animators, fashion designers and Turner Prize-nominated alumni.”

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 filmmakers and animators, fashion designers and Turner Prize-nominated alumni. There’s never been a more exciting time to be part of the creative industries!”