New appointments to University Pro-Chancellor and Council roles

Professor Dame Elan Closs Stephens will take up the role of Pro Chancellor at Aberystwyth University in January 2020.

Professor Dame Elan Closs Stephens will take up the role of Pro Chancellor at Aberystwyth University in January 2020.

26 June 2019

Professor Dame Elan Closs Stephens DBE has been appointed Pro-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University.

A graduate of Oxford’s Somerville College, Professor Dame Stephens is Emeritus Professor of Communications and Creative Industries at Aberystwyth University and former Head of the Department of the Theatre, Film and Television Studies.

She is currently the BBC Board member for Wales and the Electoral Commissioner for Wales.

Professor Stephens will take up the role of Pro-Chancellor in January 2020 and succeeds Gwerfyl Pierce Jones who steps down in December 2019.

The honorary role of Pro-Chancellor at Aberystwyth centres on ambassadorial and ceremonial duties, including presiding over the University’s annual graduation ceremonies.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgïedd, Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, said: “I am delighted to confirm the appointment of Elan Closs Stephens as Pro-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University. Elan has a wealth of experience not only in higher education and the creative industries but also in public administration and governance at the highest levels.”

Born in Dyffryn Nantlle, Professor Dame Stephens has specialised in cultural and broadcasting regulatory policy, chairing the Stephens Review into the Welsh Arts Council as well as serving as Chair of the British Council in Wales, Governor of the British Film Institute and Chair of S4C.

She was a Non-Executive Director of the Permanent Secretary of Wales’s senior Board and chaired the Board’s Audit and Risk Committee from 2008-18. She also chaired the Recovery Board for the Isle of Anglesey County Council.

In the Queen’s Birthday Honours, Professor Dame Stephens was awarded a CBE in 2001 for services to broadcasting and the Welsh language, and a Damehood in 2019 for services to the Welsh Government and broadcasting.

She also served as High Sheriff of the three counties of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion 2012-13.

New Council Members

The University has also appointed two new independent members to its Council. Meri Huws and Fiona Sharp will attend their first meeting of Council in June 2019 and will serve for an initial period of three years.

Meri Huws was Welsh Language Commissioner from 2012 to 2019, and is a former Pro Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University and the University of Wales: Trinity Saint David.

Appointed to the Coleg Cymraeg Board of Directors in April 2019, she has extensive experience of operating within public bodies including the Welsh Language Board and the Care Council for Wales.

Fiona Sharp is the former Group Finance Director of Chime Communications Group, an international communications and sports marketing group.  She has been a member of the University’s Audit, Risk and Assurance Committee since 2018.

Welcoming the appointments, Chair of the University’s Council Dr Emyr Roberts said: 'These appointments bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. They also mean that for the first time, we have gender parity across the Council. I look forward to working with Fiona, Meri and the Council as a whole for the continued benefit of this historic University.”