The professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Imperial College London is the founder of the Magdi Yacoub Institute at Harefield Heart Science Centre in Uxbridge.
The 87-year-old is also one of Egypt’s most respected surgeons and one of its most charitable, having launched the Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation in 2008 to provide medical services for the country's poor.
The university held an inauguration ceremony on Saturday night in Cairo attended by Farida Khamis — the chairwoman of its board of trustees — its President and Vice Chancellor Mohamed Lotfi, in addition to the British ambassador to Egypt, Gareth Bayley.
The ceremony was also attended by Egypt’s ministers of health, planning and economic development in addition to a deputy from the country’s Higher Education Ministry.
“It is an honour to have someone as inspirational and awe-inspiring as Prof Sir Magdi Yacoub as our first Inaugural Chancellor, and we would like to thank everyone for joining us at such a monumental and one-of-a-kind event,” the university said.
In a tweet posted on Saturday, Mr Bayley, who spoke at the ceremony, said his message to the audience was simple: "Be like Sir Magdi.”
Prof Yacoub, a British citizen, was knighted in the 1992 New Year Honours list and subsequently awarded the Order of Merit by Queen Elizabeth II in 2014.
In 1983, Dr Yacoub performed the UK's first combined heart and lung transplant. He went on to hold prominent positions at the British Heart Foundation, the National Heart and Lung Institute and Imperial College Faculty of Medicine.
His Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation, funded mainly through donations, also provides free scientific, medical and nursing training.