THE new Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University has expressed the hope that his appointment would inspire people to chase their dreams.
Prison officer turned award-winning photographer Dr David Eustace stressed that a less privileged background should not be a barrier to success.
University leaders from across Scotland gathered for the ceremony at the city’s Usher Hall.
Dr Eustace, who grew up in Riddrie in north-east Glasgow, said: “I hope my appointment inspires others, especially those from less privileged social backgrounds who perhaps feel where they come from may hinder any dreams they have for their future.”
As well as formally assuming office, the new Chancellor declared the ceremony open and closed, congratulated hundreds of new Edinburgh Napier graduates and performed the formal Act of Conferment for the graduating students.
Dr Eustace said: “Edinburgh Napier University played a major role in my life when, many years ago, I returned to full-time education as a mature student. Now it’s my turn to give back.
“There are incredible people involved with this university and I wish to lend my support to them in any way I can. The Principal’s hopes and visions are very much the ones I share.
“This honour is incredibly humbling and exciting but the role brings many responsibilities, the greatest of which are the hopes of those who have given the university their trust and some of the most important and valuable years of their lives.
“I am a fleeting moment in this institution’s history, but for the short time I am privileged to be its titular head I will embrace the challenge in the only way I know how, with respect, complete commitment, hard work and enthusiasm.”
Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “I firmly believe that David as our Chancellor fully embodies our values as a professional, ambitious, innovative and inclusive university."
Dr Eustace, who has photographed stars such as Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Judi Dench and Sophia Loren, takes over as Chancellor from Tim Waterstone.
The Glasgow-born photographer served with the Royal Naval Reserve 10 MCM (Mine Counter Measure) Squadron before spending seven years as a prison officer at Barlinnie jail.
His career and life then changed course when he was encouraged to apply for the BA Photography, Film and Television programme at Edinburgh Napier in the late ‘80s. He graduated with distinction in 1991.
Dr Eustace, who was also awarded an honorary degree by Edinburgh Napier in 2013, has worked for titles including Vogue, The Sunday Times and Elle during a colourful career which has taken him all over the world. His selected works were exhibited in The Scottish Gallery in February 2015.
Also honoured was Jann Brown, who was made an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration, and Professor Diana Laurillard, who was made an Honorary Doctor of Education.
Jann was a full-time mum who took a diploma in Accounting and went on to work for Deloitte and Cairn Energy before co-founding Magna Energy. Professor Laurillard is on the Government’s FELTAG and Education Technology Action Group and wrote Rethinking University Teaching, one of the most widely cited books in the field, which has been translated into Chinese.
Patrick McFall, P.McFall@napier.ac.uk, 0131 455 6314