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University Chancellor Lord Patten announces retirement

University of Oxford Chancellor Lord Christopher Patten has publicly announced his wish to retire at the end of the 2023-24 academic year, ending his 21-year-long tenure as Chancellor. 

Having read History at Balliol College for his undergraduate degree, Lord Patten noted the impact the University has had throughout his life: “I think it is true to say that Oxford made me, not just because of the three happy years I spent there as a student, but because of what it has continued to mean to me over the years up until the present day.” 

Lord Patten stated: “This year, I will have my 80th birthday in May. I hope there will be many birthdays to come – but I am unlikely to have another 21 years in the job as Chancellor of the University.” He further expressed his wish to continue his involvement with Oxford, “trusting he will still be able to work for [the University] from time to time.” 

Oxford’s Vice-Chancellor Irene Tracy issued a response to the announcement, noting Lord Patten’s commitment to “tirelessly championing Oxford at home and abroad,” as well as expressing her personal gratitude to him for his support in her transition to Vice-Chancellor. 

She wrote: “On behalf of thousands of alumni, students and staff and the many people whose lives have been changed by the University’s work, I thank Chris and his wife Lavender for their service, and wish them well in a richly deserved retirement.”

Before serving as Chancellor of Oxford, Lord Patten was the Chancellor of Newcastle University from 1999 to 2009. He has also held numerous parliamentary roles, most notably serving as the final British Governor of Hong Kong from 1992 until its handover in 1997.

Lord Patten’s full letter of retirement to Professor Tracey is available online.

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