Brian May, British rock star and astrophysicist, has been appointed chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University.

May will be installed as the university's figurehead leader early next year, it was announced Monday. The 60-year-old Queen guitarist said the appointment was "a great honor and a great new challenge."

He is an honorary fellow of Liverpool John Moores University, which has a well-known astrophysics research institute.

"Brian May is an intensely talented individual who achieved global success with Queen," said the university's vice chancellor, Michael Brown, in a statement. "In this age of celebrity culture, it is rare to find someone who has fame, fortune and universal acclaim and yet who remains true to his core values of learning and enlightenment."

May succeeds Cherie Booth, wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Liverpool John Moores University was formed in 1992 from the former Liverpool Polytechnic.

May completed his doctorate in astrophysics earlier this year. He was awarded his qualification by Imperial College London.

He was an astrophysics student at Imperial College when he joined Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor to form Queen in 1970, but dropped his doctorate as the glam rock band became more successful.

May is the co-author of "Bang! The Complete History of the Universe," which was published last year.