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Former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Stanton, has been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University today (Wednesday 13 July), having retired from her role earlier this year.

11th July 2023
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Former Solent University, Southampton Vice-Chancellor, Professor Karen Stanton, has been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University today (Wednesday 13 July), having retired from her role earlier this year.

Commenting on her award, Professor Stanton says, “I am delighted to be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from Solent University. With a history stretching back over 160 years, Solent is a modern, vibrant university, focused on equipping its students with the skills and knowledge to enable them to succeed in to the future. As Vice-Chancellor, it was a privilege to lead an outstanding community of students and staff and to ensure the university continued to make a positive impact on the City of Southampton and beyond.”

Former Vice Chancellor Professor Karen Stanton

Professor Stanton has enjoyed a distinguished career within higher education, holding senior positions at the universities of Birmingham, Nottingham, King’s College London, Glasgow Caledonian and York St John.

Professor Stanton joined Solent in early 2020 and led the University through the COVID-19 pandemic - one of the most challenging times for the sector, Solent and its staff and students.

Despite these challenges, the University launched a new strategy, Ready for the Future, with a mission to create ‘work ready, world ready and future ready’ graduates.

Under Professor Stanton’s leadership, the University made significant advances in the development of its real-world teaching and applied research, including the establishment of Research Centres in Marine Sustainability and Autonomous Surface Shipping.

Professor Stanton maintains a national profile having led initiatives focused on the role of universities in the community, including work with the UN Global Compact and supporting the Nobel Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus to bring the microlending Grameen Bank to Scotland. Whilst at King’s she was Director of the Centre for Digital Humanities and at Glasgow Caledonian University she established the Centre for Climate Justice in association with Mary Robinson.

Professor Stanton has also worked internationally setting up campuses in New York, Oman and a College of Nursing and Midwifery in Bangladesh. In 2014 she led the team that won the Unilever Global Development Award, recognizing their work to reduce inequalities and fight poverty in Bangladesh.

She is a previous Chair of the Cathedrals Group of Universities, Deputy Chair of GuildHE and a former Trustee of UCAS and the United Nations International Services.

Professor Stanton is a Fellow of the RSA and a Champion of the Chartered Management Institute and now serves as a Non-Executive Director on a number of Boards in the education sector. She supports sustainable businesses through her work with the Social Enterprise Accreditation Mark. She is also a Patron of the Island Charity providing a safe space for vulnerable children and young people.

Professor Stanton has over 25 years of leadership experience within the education. She has dedicated her career to enhancing and advancing life and career opportunities through education, with a particular commitment to widening access to education for students from all walks of life.