Mansfield College, Oxford is delighted to announce that Baroness Helena Kennedy has been elected as the new head of the College. Baroness Kennedy will take her post in Autumn 2011 following the retirement of Dr Diana Walford CBE who has been Principal since 2002.
Helena Kennedy is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers and active public figures. She has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights. She has used many public platforms, including the House of Lords, to which she was elevated in 1997, to argue with passion, wit and humanity for social justice and constitutional reform. She has also written and broadcast on a wide range of issues, from medical negligence to terrorism to the rights of women and children. In her wider public life Helena Kennedy is active in arts and literary organisations, including Chair of the British Council between 2004 and 2009 and judge of many literary prizes such as the Man Booker Prize. Her involvement in education has included being the first Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and her current position of President of the School of Oriental and African Studies. The Helena Kennedy Foundation, an educational foundation established in her name, provides bursaries to help seriously disadvantaged students from FE institutions to enter Higher Education.
Commenting on her election Baroness Kennedy said:
"I am really thrilled at this new role. It is a wonderful opportunity which will bring me into close contact with students and academics, something I love, in a college which is progressive, intellectually inspiring and vibrant. The glory of Mansfield for me is its dissenting tradition - providing education for those who were originally excluded from Oxford. The college has always made access for outsiders a virtue, which is why I think we are a good match. Education changed my life and I want the exhilaration of that for others."
Commenting on the election, Mansfield's Senior Tutor Lucinda Rumsey said:
"The staff and students of Mansfield College are delighted to welcome a Principal who so wholly shares the core values of the College and who they know will foster its traditions of openness, diversity and innovation.â€