Professor Sir Geoffrey Palmer has been installed as the new Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University.

A small ceremony was held on Friday with around 180 invited guests. The role of Chancellor means that Sir Geoff will preside over graduations, academic awards, honorary degrees and represent the university.

As the first black professor every appointed in Scotland, he is now the Chancellor of the university where he completed his PhD in grain science and technology, becoming a professor until his retirement in 2005. He is currently Emeritus Professor of brewing and distilling. His invention of the barley abrasion process first allowed the chair to be established.

Sir Geoff was knighted in the 2014 New Year’s Honours for services to human rights, science and charity. In 2018, he was appointed Jamaica’s first Honorary Consul in Scotland and is the 2020 recipient of the Jamaican national honour, the Order of Distinction (Commander Class).

New Chancellor of Heriot Watt University, Sir Geoff Palmer

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, Professor Richard A. Williams, said: “Anyone who knows Sir Geoff understands how much he cares for this University, its values and its people. As Chancellor, he has a critical role in elevating Heriot-Watt’s reputation across the globe and I can think of no-one better to lead us in this endeavour.”

Sir Geoff Palmer said: “To be named as Heriot-Watt’s new Chancellor today with my family by my side, is one of my proudest memories.

“I have, for around five decades now, had an extremely close affiliation with Heriot-Watt. It is a distinctive multi-national and diverse university with campus bases in Dubai, Malaysia and Scotland, with just a third of students based from Scotland, a third from the Dubai and Malaysia and a final third learning online studying the world over.

“Throughout my tenure as Chancellor, I will continue to promote the heritage and values of this great institution and do everything in my power to ensure we continue to deliver the very best learning and teaching environment for our students.”

New Chancellor of Heriot Watt University, Sir Geoff Palmer