Comic Sandi will make promoting uni her priority

Pupils from Portsmouth and Horndean schools compete in tech contest

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SHE’S a writer, comedian and broadcaster. And now Sandi Toksvig can add university chancellor to her CV.

Yesterday she was officially installed in the role at the University of Portsmouth, taking over from Sheila Hancock who stepped down in July.

Sandi Toksvig from today's instillation ceremony of the new chancellor at the University of Portsmouth.

Sandi Toksvig from today's instillation ceremony of the new chancellor at the University of Portsmouth.

Sandi, who was made an honorary Doctor of Letters in recognition of her work in the entertainment industry, says she hopes to market the university as an ideal place to study.

She spoke to 300 VIPs, governors, staff and students as she was formally installed for a five-year term.

She said: ‘I first came to Portsmouth in 1994 by chance and I was jealous that people got to study by the sea.

‘I became more and more enthralled by the work that is going on here.

‘It’s an astonishing place. There is such a range of things you can study.

‘One of the things I hope to achieve is to get to know a lot more about the university.

‘It is a massive place and there are 23,000 students all studying a massive range of things.

‘But my intention is to get to know it well enough that I can be a good spokesperson for the university and that I can make sure that the university is known about far and wide.

‘It seems a very exciting and proactive place. They seem to be positive and determined to make it the best place possible.’

Sandi, who presents the News Quiz on Radio 4 and is a regular on panel shows, began her comedy career at Girton College, Cambridge University, where she wrote and performed in the first all-woman show at the celebrated Footlights theatre.

At Cambridge she studied law, archaeology, and anthropology, graduating with a first-class degree and receiving two prizes for outstanding achievement.

Now she is keen to ensure that youngsters are not put off attending university due to the high tuition fees.

‘One of the things that I know the university is adamant to do is to make sure that nobody is stopped from coming,’ she said.

‘I’m keen to make sure people understand that university is for everybody.

‘Of course there are challenges ahead but we are always going to need new dentists, we are always going to need new journalists and so we need to keep training young people and we certainly need to not become dispirited by the fact that things are financially tight.’