Announcing our new University Pro-Chancellors

Margaret Faye CBE and Alastair Stewart OBE

Published on 27 November 2019

We are thrilled to announce that Margaret Fay, Deputy Chair of our Board of Governors and Alastair Stewart, journalist and newscaster, have agreed to become the University’s first-ever Pro-Chancellors.

In their role as Pro-Chancellors, Margaret and Alastair will support the Chancellor, Emeli Sandé, by attending events and officiating at some of the University’s graduation ceremonies in Sunderland and London.  

Both great supporters of the University and our ‘life-changing’ mission, Margaret and Alastair will be installed as Pro-Chancellors in 2020.

Margaret Fay CBE DL

Margaret was Chair of Regional Development Agency, ONE North East, from 2003 – 2010. Before this, Margaret spent 24 years at Tyne Tees Television where she held many roles; the last seven years as Managing Director. Margaret was appointed to the University’s Board of Governors in March 2011 and became Deputy Chair in September 2017.

She is currently a non-executive director of Northumbrian Water and chairs South Tyneside Council’s Economic Regeneration Board and the Board of the Customs House in South Shields.

In 2004, Margaret was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting and in the same year received an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Sunderland for her services to broadcasting, business and regional life. In the New Year’s Honours 2010 Margaret was awarded a CBEfor services to the Regional Development Agency, One North East.

Margaret commented: “I am deeply honoured to have been invited to take on this new role when I step down from the University’s Board of Governors in the summer. I am looking forward to continuing to support the University of Sunderland. It is a life-changing institution for its students, at the same time as making a positive contribution to the city and region’s economy and culture.”

Alastair Stewart OBE

Alastair, probably best known as presenter of ITV News at Ten, is one of the few people who has presented all of ITN's main news programmes.

He started his career working for Southern Television in 1976 as a reporter, industrial correspondent, presenter and documentary maker. He joined News at Ten in May 1989 as the network's Washington Correspondent and went on to cover the Gulf War in the 1990s.

He was also the first British television reporter to broadcast live from the liberated Kuwait City during the War, and has presented many of ITN's landmark programmes, including the Royal Wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales. Alastair moderated the first ever British live TV debate between the main party leaders ahead of the general election in 2010. 

Alastair Stewart is Vice President of both Action for Children and Homestart. He is also a Patron of the Lord Mayor Treloar College for disabled students; the charity Scope and the mental health charity Sane.

In 2012 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from the University of Sunderland in recognition of his outstanding contribution to news broadcasting and his commitment to charitable causes.

In a tweet, which was retweeted 70 times and received over 1,000 likes in under 24 hours, Alastair said: “Some personal news about which I am utterly thrilled: I have been asked to be a Pro-Chancellor at @sunderlanduni. I have so many good friends there and it is such a beacon of learning and student encouragement. Honoured.”

The appointments were approved by the University’s Board of Governors at their meeting earlier in November, Chair, John Mowbray, replied: “It is fabulous news and I look forward to welcoming you back again Alastair. Delighted that you agreed to be Pro-Chancellor and will be back to inspire all of us at the University, but particularly our students.”

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sunderland commented: “We are honoured that Margaret and Alastair have agreed to join our team as Pro-Chancellors.

“Margaret is an inspirational, highly-regarded businesswomen. She has been a tremendous asset to our University as Deputy Chair and I am so pleased that we will continue to benefit from her wisdom and support.

“Alastair has been a good friend of the University for many years. Our graduates always appreciate his enthusiastic and inspirational words at graduation ceremonies.”