Issue date: 22 June 2004

ISSUE DATE: 22/06/04

Professor Gourley, previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of Natal in South Africa, is the fourth Vice-Chancellor to be appointed to lead Britain’s largest and most distinctive university.

Professor Gourley said “Globalisation, migration, integration, communication and travel are bringing different races, cultures, religions and ethnicities into ever closer contact with each other. Kofi Annan and others remind us (since we seem to need reminding) that more than ever before we are being shaped by many cultures and influences, and ‘combining the familiar with the foreign can be a source of powerful knowledge and insight’. Further, people can and should take pride in their particular faith or heritage. But we can cherish what we are, without hating what we are not.’

“A primary focus of the university is to prepare its students to work and live in such a diverse society. In order to do this, however, universities must mirror society's dimensions of diversity in its student body, staff and curriculum.”

Brenda Gourley became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Natal in 1994 and was the first woman to be appointed to lead a university in South Africa. This followed a distinguished career as Professor of Accounting and Business, Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Management and then as Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Under her leadership, the University of Natal underwent a remarkable transformation, widening access and focusing on responding to the demands of a ‘knowledge society’.

Professor Gourley chaired the South African Universities’ Vice-Chancellors’ Association from 1995-1997 and the Association of Commonwealth Universities from 1996-1997. In 1997 the University of Nottingham awarded her an Honorary Degree in recognition of her contribution to Higher Education.

A firm believer in the importance of an organisational “vision”, Professor Gourley has an ongoing interest in Strategic and Systems Thinking and Leadership. The ‘Global Business Network’ names her as one of its ‘remarkable people’ and she participates frequently in scenario-planning exercises for organisations outside the university sector.

Professor Gourley is married with four children.

Further information available from, tel 0117 328 3934.


Editors Notes

Jpeg visual of Brenda Gourley available upon request from the Press Office.

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