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Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor profiles

Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor profiles


The Rt Hon The Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers

Lord Nicholas Phillips became Chancellor of Bournemouth University in November 2009. He succeeded Lady Dione Digby, who had served as Chancellor since 2006, and became the fourth Chancellor in our history.

Lord Phillips has enjoyed a distinguished legal career at the very highest levels of his profession. A former Master of the Rolls, Lord Phillips was the first Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales to serve as head of the English judiciary when that function was transferred from the Lord Chancellor in April 2006. He was also the first President of the Supreme Court, a position he held until September 2012.

Educated at Bryanston School in Dorset, Lord Phillips undertook his national service with the Royal Navy before reading Law at King’s College, Cambridge. Lord Phillips was later called to the Bar and practised as a Barrister, specialising in maritime law. He eventually ‘took silk’ to become a Queen’s Counsel and later sat as a High Court Judge on the Queen’s Bench Division, and then a member of the Court of Appea l.

The Chancellor is the ceremonial Head of the University and his most public role is to preside over the University’s annual Graduation Ceremonies, presenting degrees to students. He will also attend other University events and serve as an ambassador for the institution in the UK and beyond.


Jennifer Coombs, DL

Jennifer is an ambassador and latterly Board Member for the political magazine, Prospect. She is a former High Sheriff of Dorset, serving as The Queen's representative for law and order in the county from 2015-2016. Jennifer was appointed as Pro-Chancellor in May 2017.

Valerie Pitt-Rivers, CVO

Valerie Pitt-Rivers is the former Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset, a post she held from 2006 until her retirement in 2014. Prior to this she was the Vice-Chairman of the West Dorset General Hospitals NHS Trust; the culmination of a long and distinguished career with Dorset NHS. Valerie is also the founder of the Arts in Hospital project for Dorset County Hospital. She was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in the 2014 New Year's Honours List for her services to The Queen.

Sue Sutherland, OBE

Sue's career in nursing led her to become the Chief Executive of UK Transplant and Chief Executive of Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Sue joined the University Board in 2006 and became Chair in 2011, serving for six years before becoming Pro-Chancellor in May 2017.