The Chancellor, Bonnie Greer, is the formal head of Kingston University.
About Bonnie Greer
Bonnie Greer OBE is a distinguished writer and broadcaster, whose intellectual interests embrace the worlds of arts and science with equal fervour.
Bonnie studied theatre under the supervision of David Mamet in her native Chicago, and subsequently moved to New York to study with Elia Kazan at the world-famous Actors Studio. Her radio plays have been broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 and she has also written for the stage, picking up the Verity Bargate Award for Best New Play at the Soho Theatre. As an actor Bonnie played the iconic role of Joan of Arc at the Théâtre de l'Atelier in Paris.
Since moving to the UK in 1986 Bonnie has worked primarily in theatre with women and ethnic minorities. She became a British citizen in 1997.
As a broadcaster, Bonnie Greer is a regular panellist on a number of current affairs programmes including Radio 4's Any Questions, Newsnight Review and Question Time – when her appearance alongside British National Party leader Nick Griffin in 2009 generated significant debate and inspired her to write the opera Yes, which was staged at the Royal Opera House in 2011. She is also a prolific contributor to publications including The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. Her novels include Obama Music, a reflection on her formative years in Chicago, and a biography of the civil rights campaigner Langston Hughes.
Bonnie is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an OBE in 2010. In 2011 she was named as one of Britain's top 300 intellectuals, in a list compiled by The Observer. She is a powerful advocate for women in science.
What is the Chancellor's role?
How the role is interpreted varies between universities but Bonnie has said she is very keen to play an active role. Her predecessor, Sir Peter Hall, the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, built close links with Kingston's Rose Theatre, ran drama masterclasses and was instrumental in developing a postgraduate course. "To follow Sir Peter Hall is overwhelming and a great honour," Bonnie said. She added that she was interested in every aspect of the University's life, including its championing of entrepreneurship. "I'd like the world to know that Kingston is number one at this," she added.