Described as the pioneer of the University of Suffolk, Richard Lister OBE has formally retired from his position as Vice-Chancellor.
Professor Will Pope, Chair of the University’s Board of Directors said, “Richard has been fundamental to the University of Suffolk since its inception in 2007 and has been its Founding Vice-Chancellor. He has been central to the project to create a university in the county since 2003 and led the institution for over six years. The contribution that Richard has made cannot be emphasised enough, and on behalf of the Board, I would like to offer him our sincere thanks for the significant role he has played in ensuring the University of Suffolk’s bright future.”
Reflecting on his retirement, Richard commented, “It has been a great honour and a privilege to lead the University through its development and to be the Founding Vice-Chancellor. I decided that I would see the institution through to independence and then provide a period of stability – in a turbulent period for higher education – and then step aside. Our continuing transformation is testament to the commitment and dedication of colleagues across the University and from the community at large. I am extremely proud that together we have been able to achieve significant success during my tenure. I am sure the University will thrive and prosper in years to come, drive the local economy and offer opportunities to those who would have been denied access to higher education.”
Friends of the University gathered on Tuesday evening to wish Richard well ahead of a staff gathering the following day. Students sent their good wishes ahead of the summer break.
Celia Edey OBE, Deputy Chair of the University of Suffolk Board and Chair of the Foundation Board, said, “Richard’s commitment to the development of a University for Suffolk has been an inspiration. He has been instrumental from the earliest days of planning right to the awarding of full Independent status of the University. His ability to ensure that external stakeholders understand and support the benefits that can be brought to our communities has been vital and we owe him a great deal for his exemplary contribution. He will be missed.”
University of Suffolk Board member Mark Pendlington said “Richard led the way in securing independent status for the first ever University in Suffolk - a dream of many for nearly 500 years. His inspirational leadership has helped secure a bright future for thousands of students, and his tireless work in placing the University at the heart of community life, in Ipswich, Suffolk and far beyond, will be a lasting legacy and fitting tribute to his work, and the outstanding example he has set.”
Viv Gillespie, Principal of Suffolk New College, said, “Under Richard’s leadership, the University of Suffolk has been created, bringing benefit to the whole community. He has built a strong foundation for the future. Richard has been a pleasure to work with and understands the need for true partnerships.”
Richard has sat on the Ipswich Vision board since its inception and will continue to support the project to regenerate the town centre. Ipswich Vision chair, Terry Hunt, said of Richard’s time at the University “Richard has played an absolutely pivotal role in bringing Suffolk its own fully independent university - a massively important achievement for the reputation and prosperity of our county. He has also recognised the unique part the university plays in helping to drive Suffolk and Ipswich forward, and his energy, insight and wisdom has been crucial in that vital process.”
Member of the University’s Board, David Edwards OBE, said, "Richard will always be the Universities' first Vice-Chancellor. Superb leadership led to the establishment of the University of Suffolk in record time and he can be rightly proud of his achievements both within the University and in the wider Community. It has been a pleasure working with him."
Fellow Board member Dr Jennifer Barnes added “Richard Lister has presided not only over the creation of the first university in Suffolk, but also in doing so, contributed to the transformation of Suffolk as a county ready to meet the complex challenges and economic opportunities of the 21c century.”
Professor Helen Langton joined the University as the new Vice-Chancellor last month from the University of South Wales, where she held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
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