John Hurt appointed Norwich University of the Arts chancellor

John Hurt was inaugurated during a ceremony at Norwich City Hall

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Hollywood star John Hurt has spoken of his new role as the first Chancellor of the Norwich University of the Arts (NUA).

Mr Hurt took up his appointment at a ceremony at Norwich City Hall.

He said he aimed the make the NUA "second to none and the envy of the most illustrious institutions, not just in this country but worldwide".

Set up in 1845 as the Norwich School of Design, its students have included the artist Alfred Munnings.

NUA is one of 10 higher education institutions in the UK to receive Privy Council approval to become a university.

Professor John Last, Vice-Chancellor of NUA, said: "Well established institutions like us, with a long history and international reputation for outstanding quality and excellence, deserve to be recognised alongside larger universities in the sector.

'Positive move'

"It acknowledges the sustained excellence of staff and student work which has put us at the forefront of teaching and research in arts, design and media in Europe.

"This is a very positive move which will simplify our message to prospective students while retaining our links to our proud heritage."

Best known for acting roles in films which include Elephant Man, Midnight Express, 1984 and Alien, Mr Hurt began his association with NUA last year and officially accepted his ceremonial figurehead and ambassador position at the City Hall's Council Chamber.

Graham Creelman OBE, chair of the NUA governing board, said: "This is a very significant announcement which recognises that university title has to be about quality and not merely size.

"Over many years, under a variety of names, I am proud that this institution has been delivering some of the best education in art and design in the country, well before many modern universities existed.

"Our students have gone on to be leaders in their fields and have benefited from the focus and concentration on excellence that a specialist institution can achieve. With our new title we are determined to be not just UK leaders, but world leaders in art, design and media education."

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