Gold Medal-winning Paralympian Awarded Honorary Degree
Gold Medal-winning Paralympian, Aaron Phipps MBE, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Sport from Solent University, Southampton on Wednesday 2 February 2022.
Commenting on his award, Aaron says, “The last few months has been a complete whirlwind. I am truly honoured to be receiving this and it's even more special coming from Solent who have supported me in this journey. I dedicate this to all the students and lecturers who gave up their own time to train me and believed in me - don't underestimate your input, you were all part of the Gold Medal success in Tokyo.”
The Team GB wheelchair rugby player, contracted meningitis aged 15 when he was in Year 11 at school. He first heard about the sport in 2008 at a wheelchair racing event and quickly developed a love for it. Invited to GB training, he was selected for the 2009 European Championships where the team finished fourth. Aaron continued to work hard as an integral part of the team and made his Paralympic debut at London 2012.
After the London Games, Aaron took some time away from the international stage to focus on work and his family, returning to high level training in 2017 with the goal of achieving selection back onto the GB team. He was successful, representing GB at the 2018 Quad Nations and remaining on the team ever since.
In 2021, at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Aaron and his teammates won the first ever Gold Medal for Paralympics GB in a team sport event.
Off the court. Aaron has competed in two London Marathons and in 2016 he climbed Kilimanjaro, raising £250k for the Meningitis Research Foundation (MSF) and becoming the first person in the world to climb in a wheelchair - spending the final four days on his hands and knees in order to reach the summit.
Solent University has been a keen supporter of Aaron for over a decade, giving him access to the University’s sports experts, High Performance Academy and state-of-the-art facilities. Solent staff and students have continued to proudly support Aaron throughout his many challenges – from London 2012 to of Kilimanjaro and Tokyo 2020.
In January 2022, Aaron was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Year's Honours.