HOLLYWOOD star Patrick Stewart is going where no other starship captain has gone before - into the academic stratosphere.
The Mirfield-born actor today admitted he was "kicking his heels in delight" after being named as chancellor of Huddersfield University.
Stewart, 63, said he was dumb with surprise when the offer was made.
"I was astonished and - a rare experience for me - rendered momentarily speechless," he admitted.
"Words are inadequate to express my great pleasure."
Today, he pledged he would not be an absentee chancellor, despite his theatre and film commitments.
Stewart - best-known for his role as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation - said he had been awarded a tremendous honour.
He succeeds entrepreneur Sir Ernest Hall, who is bowing out after seven years in the role.
His first visit to Huddersfield as chancellor could be in January.
Prof John Tarrant, the university's vice-chancellor, said today: "We are highly delighted that Patrick Stewart has agreed to be our new chancellor.
"Patrick is a local man who has never forgot his roots and who is very keen to maintain links with the region.
"He was extremely pleased to be asked to be the university's chancellor and accepted immediately."
Stewart relayed his thank-you in a message from New York, where he is starring in the Harold Pinter play The Caretaker.
He said he was disappointed to be away from university graduation ceremonies held this week.
But he added: "I trust, however, that this will be the last time that I shall be absent from these ceremonies.
"I have assured the vice-chancellor and the council that in accepting this distinction it is my intention to play as full a part in the life and work of this university as my work as an actor will permit.
"I promise you, I will not be an absentee chancellor."
The star - Huddersfield Town's most famous supporter - is shortly to be a full-time UK resident again.
Stewart is currently on British television as frontman for the M&S Christmas ads.
He recently revealed he is separating from second wife Wendy Neuss after a marriage lasting three years.
Stewart was awarded the OBE in the New Year Honours list in 2001.