The University of Lincoln’s Vice Chancellor said it was a “sad day” as she wrote an emotional farewell to staff ahead of her retirement after 12 years at the helm.
Mary Stuart, 64, who was born in South Africa, became Vice Chancellor at the university in October 2009. She announced her upcoming retirement back in March this year before Professor Neal Juster was appointed as her successor.
On Mary’s last day in the post, Thursday, September 30, she sent a farewell email to all staff to thank them for their support during her proud time as Vice Chancellor (see it in full below). The new Vice Chancellor – Professor Juster – will start in the role officially from Friday, October 1.
Mary Stuart’s farewell email in full
I am writing to you for the last time as Vice Chancellor at the University. A sad day for me.
I wanted to focus this final message on our One Community values and approach and how important that is and has been to me. I want to start by saying what an enormous privilege and pleasure it has been to work with you and to serve our University. Over the last 12 years we have together, and that really matters to me that it IS together, we have built our university as one of the top young universities in the UK and increasingly in the world. We have set out confident research themes and clusters and we have worked really hard to embody our sense of staff and students together creating the University.
I am deeply proud of our University, proud of how we challenge elitism and seek to develop and learn constantly to be better at tackling discrimination and inequality. There will always be a need to challenge ourselves but we have faced up to the fact that there is work to do which is a good start.
I am proud of our students and our alumni who are consistently seeking to make a positive difference to our society and grateful for the hard work put in by many colleagues from across the University to help students become the great citizens they are when they leave us.
I am also very proud of our researchers and the excellent trajectory of our research across the University. It has been so exciting to learn from colleagues and to see their work grow and flourish.
I am proud of the schools and colleges for younger people that we support in our region. They are all making a difference to a county where educational success is determined by the background of your family which it should not be.
I am delighted with the work we have and continue to do in our place. The Civic mission of a university is a vital part of its ethical contribution and Lincoln has done this with passion and sensitivity with the communities we serve. I have no doubt this work will continue into the future.
It is now time for me to hand over to Neal Juster, your new VC, and I wish Neal all the very best in taking the University forward. I know you will all support him to develop his understanding and knowledge over the coming months of our wonderful place and university. I believe I leave the University in good heart. Of course, I am very sad, 12 years is a long time and there are so many wonderful people here, but I know Neal will have all your support to make Lincoln better and more successful in the future.
So to end on the most important thing I can say and that is simply; thank you all for your commitment and dedication. I believe we have grown and progressed as an institution because of your support and I am deeply grateful. I wish you all well, health and happiness into the future, and please, hold our university safely and help it continue to grow and develop over the next few years.
So take care of yourselves and go well,
Over a decade of success as VC
During Mary’s reign, turnover has more than doubled and student intake numbers have also increased significantly. A new building has opened every year for the past decade, including the science park and culminating with the creation of the Lincoln Medical School in 2021.
Over the last decade the university’s turnover has more than doubled to £186 million and student recruitment has doubled. The university also now generates more than £430 million for the UK economy each year. During this time, the university rose from 117th to at one point being as high as 17th in the national league tables.
In 2018, she was also named in a list of the top 50 most influential people in the Higher Education sector.
The University of Lincoln has grown in size, subject coverage, research activity and reputation over the past 12 years under Professor Stuart. It was also named as The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year.