The actor Sir Patrick Stewart is best known in the United States for his roles on stage and on screen. But you might be surprised to learn that the man who played Captain Jean-Luc Picard is chancellor of the University of Huddersfield, a 20,000-student university in England.
Stewart was in South Florida this past week for Going Global, an international higher education conference sponsored by the British Council.
Unlike university heads in the U.S., British university chancellors hold more of a representative than an administrative position. It’s a role Stewart takes seriously.
“I made a condition at the time that I was not interested in being a celebrity status symbol for the university, I wanted to be as active as possible,” says Stewart.
Stewart himself finished school at 15 years old. When he later started acting, he found himself surrounded by bright, well-educated artists. He did end up attending drama program, but he was self-conscious about his own schooling—which made the Huddersfield opportunity all the more meaningful.
“This invitation was significant to me because I had no higher education whatsoever,” he says.
Stewart sat down with StateImpact Florida to talk about how one teacher influenced an entire career:
And watch him recite a bit of one of his favorite Shakespearean verses, as well as address what line of the Bard’s Florida is most like: