Kenyan scholar picked as chancellor of UK specialist arts university

Prof Magdalene Odundo. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Prof Magdalene Odundo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Kenyan scholar has been appointed the chancellor of United Kingdom’s first specialist arts university.

Magdalene Odundo will take over the reins in June next year at the University of Creative Arts (UCA) replacing Dame Zandra Rhodes who becomes Chancellor Emerita.

“Prof Odundo is one of the world’s greatest contemporary potters and a continual source of inspiration to students at the UCA.

We are delighted that she is stepping into this role and are confident that she will be an excellent ambassador both for UCA and the subjects we teach,” said UCA vice-chancellor Bashir Makhoul in a statement.

Prof Odundo graduated with a First Class degree in 3DD Design: ceramics, printmaking and photography from UCA’s Farnham campus – then known as the West Surrey College of Art and Design – in 1976. Prof Odundo said of the appointment: “It is an honour to be invited to continue my relationship with a university I have been closely associated with over many years.”

After graduation, the Kenyan-born artist combined teaching and further studies with a ceramic art practice, which has seen her work collected in museums worldwide, the university said.

The university has campuses in Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham and Rochester, along with teaching centres at Hampton Court Palace and Maidstone TV Studios.

Prof Odundo will also preside at its graduation ceremonies and confer degrees on its graduands.

In 2001, the UCA appointed her a professor of ceramics, a post she held until her retirement last year.