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About us

Our Pro-Chancellors

The Pro-Chancellors deputise for Southampton’s Chancellor, presiding over graduation ceremonies and playing an active role in the future development of the University. They also play a key ambassadorial role for Southampton through activities linked to the University’s strategy.

Read more about how the University is governed and run

Jon Sopel
Our Pro Chancellor

Pro-Chancellor: Jon Sopel


Jon Sopel is a journalist, broadcaster and author who has enjoyed a distinguished career with the BBC.

A graduate of the University of Southampton in 1981 with a BSc in Politics and Sociology, he currently serves as North America Editor based in Washington, DC.

Following his graduation, Sopel remained at the University as Students’ Union President. In 1983, he joined BBC Radio Solent in Southampton as a reporter and producer and went on to become the chief political correspondent for BBC News 24. He also spent three years as the BBC’s Paris correspondent during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

In 2005, Sopel fronted The Politics Show on BBC One interviewing key politicians including Prime Minister’s Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and former US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice. He has also co-presented on the BBC News Channel and fronted a number of radio and television programmes including Newsnight, HARDtalk and The Daily Politics. He wrote an acclaimed biography of Tony Blair and is currently working on a book about his time in America.

Prior to his current role, Sopel was the main presenter on the BBC News Channel programme Global.

In 2007, Sopel was voted Political Journalist of the Year by the Public Affairs Industry. In 2013, he was shortlisted for National Presenter of the Year at the Royal Television Society Journalism Awards.

He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University in 2011.


Pro-Chancellor and Chair of Council: Dr Gill Rider

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