Hillary Clinton appointed chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast

Former US secretary of state has been a regular visitor to Northern Ireland

Hillary Clinton has been appointed as the new chancellor of Queen's University Belfast, the college announced on Thursday.

The former US first lady, secretary of state and senator, who has been a regular visitor to Northern Ireland going back to the first visit of President Bill Clinton in 1995, becomes the university's first female chancellor.

Ms Clinton, who failed in her bid to be elected US president, holds an honorary doctorate from Queen’s. She will serve as chancellor for a five-year term.

With her husband she has been a long-time supporter of the Northern Ireland peace process.


The position of chancellor has been vacant since the death in 2018 of Dr Thomas J Moran, chairman, president and chief executive of Mutual of America.

“It is a great privilege to become the chancellor of Queen’s University, a place I have great fondness for and have grown a strong relationship with over the years,” said Ms Clinton.

“The university is making waves internationally for its research and impact and I am proud to be an ambassador and help grow its reputation for excellence,” she added.

Mr Stephen Prenter, pro-chancellor and chair of the college's governing senate said he was delighted that Queen's has appointed Ms Clinton as its new chancellor.

He added, “Secretary Clinton has made a considerable contribution to Northern Ireland and as an internationally recognised leader will be an incredible advocate for Queen’s and an inspirational role model for the Queen’s community.”

According to the university Ms Clinton as chancellor will play three main roles: a ceremonial one which involves presiding at degree congregations; an ambassadorial role, where the office holder helps to “open doors” for the university; and finally as an advisor, available to the vice-chancellor and senior management as a “sounding board” and to provide counsel and guidance.

The university said on Thursday that there were no immediate plans for Ms Clinton to visit Queen’s.

The next graduation ceremonies where she could preside will be held in the summer.

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times