St John’s College has announced Professor Dame Sue Black, Baroness Black of Strome will be the President of St John’s College from Summer 2022. She will succeed outgoing President Professor Maggie Snowling to become the 37th President since the College’s foundation in 1555.

Professor Dame Sue Black is a world-renowned forensic scientist who is currently the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Engagement at Lancaster University. In this role, she is responsible for promoting the University’s regional, national and global profile through various public engagement strategies. She is also the President of the Royal Anthropological Institute. After graduating from the University of Aberdeen in human anatomy and forensic anthology, Professor Black worked as a lecturer in Anatomy at St Thomas’ Hospital London, as a consultant in forensic anthropology for both the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and as the lead forensic anthropologist during the international war crimes investigations in Kosovo. She returned to Scotland in 2003 as a Professor of Anatomy and Forensic Anthropology at Dundee University, where she taught for 15 years. 

Professor Black boasts several personal accolades. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday honours for services to Higher Education and Forensic Science in 2016 and entered the House of Lords as a crossbencher peer as Baroness Black of Strome in 2021. She is also a recipient of the Fletcher of Saltoun award for her contribution to Scottish Culture, the Jephcott gold medal for scientific advancement, the Lucy Mair medal for humanitarian assistance, and the Outstanding Women of Scotland award. 

St John’s College has an approximate cumulative total of 800 students, Fellows and lecturers. Professor Maggie Snowling, who is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Experimental Psychology, will leave her post as President after 10 years, having become President of St John’s College in September 2012. On the appointment of Professor Dame Sue Black, Professor Maggie Snowling said: “‘I am delighted that the Governing Body has chosen Professor Dame Sue Black, a distinguished academic, to succeed me as President. I am confident that her wide experience of fundamental and applied research, coupled with her extensive knowledge of Higher Education, and the challenges it faces, make her an ideal person to lead the College to new heights of distinction and inclusivity in the next decade.”

Professor Dame Sue Black stated: “I am honoured to be chosen for the post of President for St. John’s College. I pay tribute to the work undertaken by Professor Snowling over the last decade. She has set impeccable standards of service, been inspirational and innovative in her leadership and tireless in her support of staff and students. I can only promise to do my best to build on the strong foundation that she has set and look forward enormously to the tasks ahead.”

Image: St John’s College


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