THERE’S no question, Sir Liam Donaldson is a busy man. He has been the Chief Medical Officer for England and the UK’s Chief Medical Adviser for more than a decade and is playing a major role in combating swine flu.
Now he has agreed to be the next Chancellor for Newcastle University.
Sir Liam, who will take over on August 1, said last night he is determined to take Newcastle University to a global level.
And, he is taking on an even bigger challenge – to combat excessive drinking among the university’s students.
“I am used to juggling my work,” he said. “I’ve been doing it for so long now that I’m getting quite good at it.
“Although I have some links with other universities, this is the first concrete commitment I have made. It was something I thought very carefully about.
“In the end, I decided I would be able to offer enough attention to my day job, whilst giving quality time to Newcastle, too.”
Born in Middlesbrough and with strong links to the NHS in the North East, Sir Liam will become the university’s ceremonial head, in addition to his current duties with the Government.
Newcastle University is familiar territory for Sir Liam, as he was made an honorary Professor of Applied Epidemiology there in 1989.
“It is with immense pride and honour that I have agreed to take on this role,” he said. “To be Chancellor of a university that I know well is especially pleasing.
“I love the North East and the happiest years of my life were spent there.”
Sir Liam will take over from Lord Patten, who retires as Chancellor on July 31 after 10 years in office. He will play a key advisory role as well as being a public representative and senior ambassador.
Sir Liam said: “I won’t be interfering with any of the management issues, but I don’t just want to be a ‘hat and gown’ Chancellor who only turns up for degree ceremonies; I want to play an active part.
“I have international contacts and I hope to be able to help the university raise its profile. Newcastle University is highly respected in the country, but I’d like to do more to promote it further afield.”
Sir Liam also wants to look at promoting the health and well-being of the students.
“We must never forget that universities are there for the students and I’d like to promote a healthier campus. We hear a lot about students’ lifestyles, including things like excessive drinking, and we need to combat these influences.”
Page 3 - Distinguished career >>
SIR Liam Donaldson has been the Chief Medical Officer for England and the UK’s Chief Medical Adviser since 1998.
Before that, he held senior posts in the NHS in the North East. He was Regional Medical Officer and later Chief Executive Officer for the Northern Regional Health Authority.
Since coming into his present post, Sir Liam has authored a series of ground-breaking reports aimed at transforming a wide range of areas of health and medical science.
He produced the country’s first comprehensive health protection strategy and proposed new legislation to allow carefully regulated stem cell research.
He added: "I wrote the paper on stem cell research about six years ago - before many people knew what it entailed and the media at the time illustrated the story by showing limbs growing out of jars. I am delighted how Newcastle University has taken the lead in this area of science; it has produced some brilliant research."