Published Tuesday, 06 November 2012
James Nesbitt during his two day tour of the Unversity of Ulster. (© Pacemaker)
Ballymena-born Nesbitt started his acting career in Coleraine but has gone on to starring roles in television series, most recently returning from filming Peter Jackson's The Hobbit in New Zealand.
But the 47-year-old told UTV he studied briefly at Jordanstown and has not forgotten roots.
"Northern Ireland is a very exciting place to be educated. It continues to be very forward-thinking at Ulster," he commented.
"Hopefully we get our own homegrown students to stay here but also we attract a lot more from across the water."
Nesbitt was appointed as Chancellor of the university in 2010, seven years after he was initially award an honorary doctorate for services to languages.
"Perhaps the university felt that when they invited me to be chancellor that maybe I could relate to the students," he said.
"That's something that's very important to me, and also maybe I've a wider influence in social and political circles that can make sure that we champion the rights, we champion the university and that people see that this is a great place to start the next stage of their lives."
The Hobbit is due out later this year, and while Nesbitt has stayed fairly tight-lipped on the details of the film, he has described it as "very spectacular".
"It's an adventure, it's an incredible thing to be involved in. I've never really been involved in a movie like that before, so I was quite surprised by the epic nature of it," he explained.
The tour will take in some of the groundbreaking scientific research that is going on at the university and on Tuesday he visited the Jordanstown, Belfast and Magee campuses.
The Riverside Theatre on the Coleraine campus is celebrating its 35th anniversary and Nesbitt is helping to mark that by taking part in an 'In Conversation' event.
On Wednesday he will visit the Centre for Molecular Biomedical Sciences in Coleraine and attend a nursing awards ceremony.
© UTV News