Hugh Brady’s dog days are over: Florence + The Machine’s mum announced as Bristol Uni boss

Professor Evelyn Welch becomes Bristol’s first female Vice-Chancellor in its 109-year history

Bristol Uni has appointed Evelyn Welch MBE as the new Vice-Chancellor to take over from Professor Hugh Brady. She will be Bristol Uni’s first female Vice-Chancellor when she begins on 1st September.

She said that she is excited and proud to be part of the city and university, praising its global reach and innovative students.

Evelyn Welch is currently the Senior President at King’s College London and has previously held several senior leadership roles at Sussex Uni and at Queen Mary, University of London.

She is also the mother of Florence Welch, the lead singer of English indie-rock band and previous Glastonbury headliners, Florence + The Machine.

Evelyn Welch will take over from Professor Hugh Brady, who has held the position for seven years, in September.

She will be the 14th Vice-Chancellor in Bristol Uni’s history, and the first female Vice-Chancellor to take up the position since the uni was founded in 1909.

She first studied Renaissance History and Literature at Harvard and gained a PhD from the Warburg Institute in London. She is well known for her work on fashion and economics in Renaissance Europe.

Professor Welch described how “proud” she was to be “the first woman to lead such an outstanding institution”.

She praised Bristol’s “passionate, talented and innovative” staff and students and said she was excited about the university’s “new vision and strategy”.

Welch’s appointment follows a global search overseen by the Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, Jack Boyer OBE.

He said: “Professor Welch is an accomplished academic and university leader. She is deeply committed to our institutional values and exceptionally well placed to lead our university into the post-Brexit, post-pandemic world.

“I’m proud that Bristol will welcome its first female Vice-Chancellor. I have no doubt she will bring new insights and perspectives to the strategic leadership of the University; draw on her considerable experience to build on Bristol’s outstanding teaching and research; and guide us towards achieving our ambitious university vision

Evelyn Welch received an MBE in 2013 for services to higher education and the creative economy and has been awarded several fellowships.

Her work has focused particularly on fashion, art, and economics in Renaissance Europe, and has published several books.

She has also been involved with museums and art galleries and was involved in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s £12.5 million transformation of the Europe 1600-1815 gallery.

Professor Evelyn Welch said: “Bristol is a remarkable global university in a great city. Its passionate, talented and innovative staff and students change lives for the better every day. I am excited about the University’s new vision and strategy and proud to be the first woman to lead such an outstanding institution.

“I look forward to serving the whole Bristol community to fully realise our potential and achieve our shared ambitions, locally, nationally and globally.”

Sir Paul Nurse, Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: “I’m delighted by the appointment of Professor Welch as Vice-Chancellor and President of Bristol. She will be a fantastic asset to the University and is perfectly placed to help our community progress its academic and civic mission.

“I’m sure she will be warmly welcomed as we move into the future with considerable confidence and optimism.”

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