Nobel Peace Prize winner installed as Chancellor of GCU

26 October 2012

Professor Muhammad Yunus with daughter Monica and GCU Principal Professor Pamela Gillies

Professor Muhammad Yunus with daughter Monica and GCU Principal Professor Pamela Gillies

Professor Muhammad Yunus has been installed as Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University.

The flags of Bangladesh and Scotland flew over the campus as a procession including members of the University’s Court, honorary graduates and academics from around the world, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell, Principal and Vice Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies and Professor Yunus were piped along a red carpet into the installation ceremony.

View images from the installation

Professor Gillies told the audience: “This is a historic day for Glasgow Caledonian University, for today we install Professor Yunus as our fourth Chancellor.”

Professor Gillies described how the University’s bond with its new Chancellor was first forged in 2002 when she discovered a battered copy of his memoir in a Calcutta development centre. She said: “For me, as for millions of others, Professor Yunus’ work and its impact inspired admiration.

“In 2008, GCU forged an extraordinary relationship with this extraordinary man. His ideas have transformed the life chances of so many and will soon do the same for many right here in the streets of our great city of Glasgow.”

Introducing Professor Yunus, Professor Pamela Gillies said: “This University, our staff and students and the many partners we work with in Scotland and overseas, will be inspired by your humanity and integrity and will follow your lead to provide opportunity in a world where everyone matters and where everyone can contribute.”

“I feel truly honoured to be in the position to serve as your Vice-Chancellor and we all look forward to exciting times ahead with you as our new Chancellor.”

Professor Yunus was formally installed as Chancellor by Chair of Court Antony Brian.

The audience laughed as Professor Yunus said: “This is a historic day for me because I have always been a very informal person. Look what they have done to me; all these glittering robes and fanfare is the opposite of me but here I am transformed from an informal person to a formal person. That’s historic.

“I hope it is for a good cause and Pamela has given already some of the reasons why I have joined her in her efforts to make something in which we believe very strongly.

“When I came to the University today I felt I was coming full circle. I was at Chittagong University and tried to get out of the campus and be with the people living next to it, to make myself useful. That took me away from the university and I never went back. The work I started in that village took me around the world. Now I have come back to the campus in a formal way.”

Professor Yunus said that young people should not be regarded as "future leaders". They were already leaders, he said - the most powerful generation in human history, thanks to the technology at their disposal.

See Professor Yunus deliver his speech

Professor Yunus’ daughter, Monica Yunus, a soprano with the New York Metropolitan Opera, was joined by musicians from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and a tabla player to perform Ye Banks and Braes, Ei Padda Ei Meghna and Alleluia.As Professor Yunus stood to applaud his daughter’s stunning performance, she said: “Chancellor, it is an honour to be with you on this wonderful occasion.”

The audience rose as Professor Yunus was piped from the ceremony to a reception for hundreds of guests.

The ceremony took place the day after the announcement that the Grameen micro-lending system, which has helped lift millions of people out of poverty w