Acclaimed entrepreneur Yekemi Otaru has been officially installed as University of the West of Scotland’s (UWS) Chancellor as part of a special ceremony at Paisley Abbey.

Yekemi, who was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University at the event, succeeds Dame Elish Angiolini, who was an outstanding Chancellor for the university for eight years.

In attendance at the ceremony was a range of distinguished guests, stakeholders and UWS colleagues and students.

The ceremony, which featured a welcome, a poem and a musical performance from UWS students, was followed by a reception at the University’s Paisley campus.

The event celebrated Yekemi’s accomplishments as an inspirational entrepreneur, renowned for her passionate commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Yekemi is also a tireless supporter of women in business and an active mentor of business owners in the world’s poorest countries.

Also as part of the event, the Lord-Lieutenant of Renfrewshire planted one of a pair of Laurel trees at the front of the Paisley campus and unveiled a plaque, highlighting the University’s commitment to the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative. 

Dr Lucy Meredith, Interim Principal & Vice-Chancellor, said:

“In her short time as our Chancellor, Yekemi has already made an incredible impact on our University community. She has inspired, encouraged and supported colleagues and students and will continue to do so in the years ahead.

“It has been fantastic to gather together to celebrate Yekemi today after the challenges of the pandemic and award her with a richly deserved Honorary Doctorate. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Yekemi and it has been wonderful to celebrate her today.”

Yekemi Otaru, Chancellor of UWS, said:

“I’m delighted to have celebrated my installation as Chancellor at UWS in today’s ceremony. It was such a lovely and uplifting event, made even more special as I had my family and close friends present.”

“So far, my time as Chancellor at UWS has allowed me to meet some of the most inspirational and brilliant minds. Recently named Higher Educational Institution of the Year at the Herald Higher Education Awards, it’s an honour to be part of the UWS journey. I look forward to what the future brings for this great Institution.”

In her role as Chancellor, Yekemi has already visited the University’s various campuses and met with staff, students, and entrepreneurs in UWS’s incubator space.

She has also facilitated introductions between the UWS Careers Team and Thermo Fisher Scientific African Heritage Employee Resource Group, to explore how the collaboration can drive more diverse recruitment within Thermo Fisher. The collaboration is successfully in place.

Yekemi also gave the opening and closing remarks at the UWS Kick Start competition last month.