Monday 8 October 2018
As we say goodbye to our Chancellor for the past 12 years, Admiral The Right Honourable Lord West of Spithead, we welcome Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis as his successor.
“It’s amazing to think it’s been 12 years because the time has just flown by – it’s going to be a sad day when I leave, there’s no doubt about it.” These were the words of Lord West, Solent’s first Chancellor, overseeing his final graduation ceremony, one of 70 he attended since taking up his post in 2006.
“I’m so proud of all of the people who have taught here and all of the youngsters who have come through,” he said. “I’ve made lots and lots of friends here, and the University has grown and blossomed. It’s really a remarkable place when you think how it started, and now it’s vibrant in every single area. It’s fully part of this great city and its fame is spreading – wherever I go around the UK people know about it. They know about it around the world too, particularly the maritime side of things, but when it comes to things like the arts and media it is absolutely wonderful what’s been achieved. Now we will have a new Chancellor and the University is going to go from strength, to strength, to strength.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said it had been a “great privilege” to have Lord West serve as Chancellor: “His excellent leadership qualities, maritime knowledge, university interests and shared vision and values has made him a great ambassador. His continued interest in, involvement with and promotion of the University, has helped raise Solent’s profile in the UK and overseas, and he will be greatly missed.”
Lord West’s successor is Dragons’ Den star and business entrepreneur Theo Paphitis, inaugurated as Chancellor at a ceremony in October 2018. “I was delighted to be asked to be Chancellor of Solent University, as the area is very close to my heart for many reasons,” he explained. “There has never been a more interesting or challenging time to be part of the university sector and I am relishing the opportunity to help place Solent even more firmly on the map.”
Professor Baldwin added: “I am delighted that Theo Paphitis is joining us as Chancellor. He is a long-time supporter of the University and is highly regarded for his significant achievements in business. Theo will be an inspiration to our students and has expertise and interests that go across all our Schools and curriculum areas. We are one of the top 10 universities for student business start-ups so an enterprising and entrepreneurial figurehead is most appropriate. I am sure we have exciting and productive times ahead.”