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Wednesday 30 May 2018

Solent University is excited to announce that its new Chancellor will be Dragons’ Den star and business entrepreneur Theo Paphitis.  

No stranger to Solent, Theo has supported the University for a number of years. In 2010 he was awarded Honorary Doctor of Business and went on to support our students with entrepreneurial advice through his regular visits to the University. His twin daughters also graduated from Solent, and in 2017 he opened the Spark – our state-of-the-art teaching and learning building. 

Cypriot-born Theo Paphitis has a business empire that spans retail, property and finance.  

He has bought and revived the fortunes of Ryman, Robert Dyas and many others. Theo also launched global lingerie brand Boux Avenue in 2011 and in 2016 added The London Graphic Centre to his portfolio.

Theo is also known for his eight years as Millwall Chairman and for his many TV appearances, including most notably nine series on the BBC's Dragons' Den.  He is also patron to several charities and his businesses have raised over £4m for Comic Relief and Sport Relief.

As Chancellor, Theo will be the ceremonial head of the University and one of its most important ambassadors. He will preside over and confer degrees at award ceremonies, as well as acting as a figurehead for the University. Theo will also work closely with the Vice-Chancellor and the Chair of the Board of Governors.  

Theo Paphitis_Solent Hon Doc

Theo will succeed Admiral The Right Honourable Lord West of Spithead as Solent’s second Chancellor in August. Lord West will preside over his last graduation ceremonies as Chancellor on 9-12 July.  

Theo Paphitis says: “I was delighted to be asked to be Chancellor of Solent University, as the area is very close to my heart for many reasons.  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 firmly on the map.”

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, says: “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 figure-head is most appropriate. I look forward to working with him.”

Phil Cotton, Chairman of Solent’s Board of Governors, says: “I am very much looking forward to having a very open and constructive relationship with the University’s new Chancellor. I have enormous respect for everything Theo has achieved in his business life and I’m sure the Board will benefit from his commercial acumen and insight.”

Theo will be inaugurated as Chancellor at a Ceremony in October and serve for a minimum of three years.