ACTOR and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax has officially become the new chancellor of the University of Southampton.

She was installed as the 18th chancellor during a formal winter ceremony, and is set to play a leading ambassador role.

Ruby, who is also an American author, comedian and lecturer, will also preside over graduation ceremonies and play an active role in the university’s development.

As part of her new role, she announced that the University of Southampton will be the first ever university to host the successful Frazzled Cafe, founded and created by herself.

Frazzled Cafe provides facilitated peer support meetings in relaxed environments, such as cafes, where people can share their personal stories in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental environment – a space where, in Ruby’s words, “it’s okay to not be okay”.

Ms Wax said that becoming Chancellor was a “surprise” as she had not taken full advantage of her early school years.

She said: “I’m so honoured and dare I say it, surprised to become the Chancellor of the University of Southampton.

"If you had asked me as a child if this was even possible, I’d laugh in your face, as would my parents.

"As a young student, academic intelligence wasn’t my forte. Canoeing yes, academia no.

"I wouldn’t have even gotten into Southampton when I was young, so miracles really do happen. If I can do that quantum leap from below academic sea level in high school to becoming chancellor of this very prestigious university where my son went to study physics, which led to a fantastic career in IT, anyone can.”