Patten dons robes as Oxford's new chancellor
Patten, center, EU Commissioner and the last Governor of Hong
Kong, prepares to be sworn in as the 294th Chancellor of Oxford
University, Wednesday June 25, 2003.[AP]
EU commissioner Chris Patten plunged into
a new job as the 294th chancellor of Oxford University.
Patten, 58, donned his black, gold-trimmed academic
robes of office to bestow an honorary degree on opera star Placido
Domingo, having skipped an EU-US summit in Washington to do so.
Watched from the audience by his wife Lavender and
three daughters, Patten received the university's statutes, keys
and seal from vice-chancellor Sir Colin Lucas and gave a short
speech in Latin.
Switching to English, Patten said Oxford -- his
alma mater -- could not take its future for granted.
"This university, much the best known in the
world, has no god-given right, immune to accountability or criticism,
to be revered as a national treasure and an asset beyond quantification,"
a former Conservative government minister and the last governor
of Hong Kong before it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, is expected
to step down next year as EU commissioner for external
Besides Oxford, he is also chancellor of Newcastle
University in the north of England.