MUSIC star Emeli Sandé will be the new chancellor of the University of Sunderland, picking up the baton from Steve Cram who steps down after 11 years in the role.

The multi-platinum selling singer and songwriter will be installed during the university’s academic awards in July.

During the 1980s, Emeli’s parents, Diane and Joel, studied together at Sunderland Polytechnic– which became the university in 1992– and she was born in the city in 1987. Her arrival coincided with their own graduation ceremony and meant they were unable to attend and, in a remarkable turn of events, Emeli will confer her parents’ academic awards during her first ceremony as chancellor.

Emeli’s passions for music and education have always run side by side. Whilst studying for her degree in neuroscience at the University of Glasgow, she honed her writing and performance skills with gigs across the city.

She said: “Education and music are both central to who I am and I believe that both have the power to change lives for the better. So I am delighted that I can combine my passions in this new role.

“Sunderland was home to my parents while they were studying. I’ve always felt a strong connection to the city so it is a great personal honour for me to accept the role of chancellor of the university.

“I plan to use my time as chancellor to help others see their worth, realise their potential and break down barriers, whether real or imagined.”

Emeli’s debut album Our Version of Events, topped the UK charts and has sold more than 5.4 million copies. She performed at the opening and closing ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympic Games and at the White House for Barack Obama.

John Mowbray, chair of the university’s board of governors, described her appointment as exciting.

He said: "It is a reflection of the growing confidence, ambition and ingenuity of this University. We have been hugely fortunate to have had two outstanding chancellors in Lord David Puttnam and Steve Cram CBE. Both were unstinting in their support to the University of Sunderland as it developed into the institution it is today.”

Vice-chancellor, Sir David Bell, said: “Emeli breaks the mould when it comes to university chancellors. She represents a different generation and is someone of immense standing in her chosen profession. We are thrilled that Emeli has agreed to become the chancellor of the University of Sunderland as her values chime with our own. She is a committed advocate for social justice, gender equality and access to education. She will be an outstanding role model for our students, graduates and staff.”