05 October 1998: BBC News

Dame Diana's New Role

Dame Diana Rigg has been installed as Chancellor of the University of Stirling.

In a ceremony at Stirling's Holy Rude Church, the actress became the first woman to hold the position in the university's 31-year history.

More than 300 guests watched the installation of Dame Diana, who became a household name in the 1960s for her role as karate-kicking Emma Peel in the TV show The Avengers. She is currently appearing in Phedre at the Albery Theatre in London.

Dame Diana, who lives in Stirling, told the assembled guests: "The academic world is a far cry from that of a thespian, although both have a lot of learning to do.

"I hope to be a credible chancellor to Stirling University and to enjoy and learn about this new world. I hope to uphold this very great faith that has been placed in me."

The chancellor's role is mainly ceremonial, providing a public face for the university at graduation ceremonies and other events.

The university's Senior Deputy Principal, Professor Mike Jackson, welcomed Dame Diana's appointment on behalf of the staff.

"Diana Rigg's appointment as chancellor has not simply been welcomed by the staff of the university, but rather welcomed with acclaim," he said.

"The nomination of Diana Rigg as chancellor has caught the imagination. It has been welcomed by staff of all ages and all backgrounds."

He also spoke of the importance of Dame Diana's long association with the Stirling area, where she has lived since the early 1980s.

Tuition fees

The President of Stirling students' association, Nick Manton, spoke of student concern over the introduction of tuition fees.

Addressing Dame Diana, he said: "You have entered your position at a time of great uncertainty for higher education in Scotland.

"A number of students are struggling financially and we face a very real threat to the four-year degree as a result of government actions.

"Your installation today as chancellor of the university is a step in the right direction."

Dame Diana was installed as chancellor by the University of Stirling's Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Miller.

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