Comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry has been appointed chancellor of Birmingham City University.
The 57-year-old – who was knighted last year for services to drama and charity – has been a prominent campaigner on increasing diversity in the arts.
He said the role was a “superb opportunity” to promote the West Midlands and help young people.
Dudley-born Sir Lenny first found fame after winning TV talent show New Faces in 1975.
He said the university has facilities that “rival anything in the television industry”.
“[It] is right in the centre of a city that has changed beyond recognition in recent years and offers the sort of contemporary education I would have killed for when I was a kid,” he said.
Sir Lenny Henry: a varied career
- Began as a stand-up comedian, winning New Faces in 1975
- Helps to found charity Comic Relief in 1985
- After a string of TV shows and stand-up tours turns to Shakespeare, playing Othello in 2009
- Knighted for services to drama and charity in 2015
- Records and releases a blues album
Professor Cliff Allan, vice-chancellor of the university, said Sir Lenny was “one of the country’s most well-known personalities” and his appointment would inspire students.
“He not only encapsulates the university’s commitment to both the arts and widening participation, but he is a strong advocate for Birmingham and the region, including his home town of Dudley,” he said.