Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Ruby Wax congratulates our ‘COVID cohort’

Published: 1 August 2023
Ruby Wax at UoS graduation
Ruby Wax at the 2023 graduation ceremony.

University of Southampton Chancellor Ruby Wax has offered her congratulations to this year’s graduates in a visit to the university.

Ms Wax, who presided over a graduation ceremony in the O2 Guildhall Southampton, said: “Congratulations to the COVID cohort. The fact that students are graduating, and they had to tolerate staying inside and not meeting their cohorts during COVID, is just remarkable.”

Actor and mental health campaigner Ms Wax has been Chancellor of the university – where her son Max studied physics – since 2019. “I love being the Chancellor,” she said. “I love the title, and if I had time in my life I would go on some of the courses at Southampton. My son had a great time here, he lived like an animal and lived on crusts of pizza, but he did get a great job from it. I was really proud.”

On the value of the university experience, she said: “This is where students mingle and meet their tribe. I wish I’d stayed at university because there you meet friends forever. I didn’t finish university, it wasn’t a time when I understood the importance of having a focus. It’s so impressive to me that somebody has started and ended something at such a young age.”

Mental health

Ms Wax has been a staunch mental health campaigner in recent years.

She said: “I know in the workplace it’s still difficult, but I hope here at the university people are not ashamed – mental illness affects one in four people.

With mental health issues, sometimes comes creativity and originality and brilliance, so why be ashamed?”

In recent years, Ms Wax has embarked on extreme challenges to push and test her own mental health resilience. She outlined: “I want to see what happens when you pull yourself out of your comfort zone. I think it makes more neural connections. I am more flexible – things don’t frighten me the way they used to.”

Sharing her experiences of taking part in the Ruby Wax: Cast Away TV series earlier this year, where she was left on a desert island for 10 days, she said: “I’m really interested in mental resilience. I learned things from being in nature – which is ‘get real and understand things die, things are born’. I was in a cyclone but I wasn’t scared – it’s just nature. I think to really face nature strengthens you.”

Privacy Settings