Ex-Sunderland chairman Sir Bob Murray becomes university chancellor

Sir Bob Murray.

Sir Bob Murray.

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ONE of Sunderland’s most famous sons is heading back to university.

Sir Bob Murray, pictured, is to be installed as chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University in a ceremony next week.

The event will include a procession of more than 100 representatives from across the university, followed by a showcase of student work, including music and dance performance.

Sir Bob, former chairman of Sunderland AFC, will also be given a civic welcome by the Lord Mayor of Leeds.

A renowned businessman, philanthropist and enthusiastic supporter of education, Sir Bob is an alumnus of Leeds Met with his links to the university going back to 1969 when he moved to Yorkshire to study accountancy part-time at the university’s predecessor institution Leeds Polytechnic.

Some years later, in 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration by Leeds Metropolitan for his contribution to business and sport.

Professor Susan Price, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “We are delighted that Sir Bob is to become chancellor of our university.

“Sir Bob shares our core values and is passionate about both education and making a difference to people in their communities. We are proud of so many things here at our university.

“Myself and my colleagues are really looking forward to working with Sir Bob and I know he will be a fantastic champion for our university.”

After leaving Leeds Polytechnic, Sir Bob joined Wetherby-based kitchen manufacturers George A Moore as a financial accountant.

His career progressed and in 1978 he co-founded Spring Ram, a company which targeted the home improvement market and by 1989 was seeing profits of £22million a year.

A devoted Black Cats fan, Sir Bob became chairman in 1986 and spearheaded the club’s move to the purpose-built Stadium of Light in 1997.

He was also invited by the Government to join the board of Wembley and was also a board member of the Football Foundation.

The dad-of-three’s desire to create a learning legacy and his passion for social inclusion led to the establishment of the Foundation of Light, a registered charity, which harnesses the power of football to increase the motivation, educational attainment and personal skills of young people throughout the North and has gained national recognition.

Sir Bob, whose wife Sue is from Leeds, was knighted in 2010 for his services to football, charity and education and in October 2011 was awarded the honorary Freedom of the City of Sunderland.

Twitter: @sunechoschools