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Vice-Chancellor honoured by the Queen for services to higher education

17 Jun 2017 11:00AM

The University of Suffolk’s Richard Lister has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

The Vice-Chancellor of the UK’s newest University has been recognised for services to higher education in a career spanning almost 40 years.

Originally from Grimsby in Lincolnshire, where he was educated at Wintringham Grammar School followed by the University of York, Richard has worked at Brunel and Hull Universities in education liaison, widening participation and regional development of higher education. 

In 2004 while working at the University of Essex he moved to a project to develop plans for University Campus Suffolk (UCS), a unique venture involving two Universities and five Colleges of Further and Higher Education in the establishment of a new Higher Education Institution. The project moved rapidly from initial outline thinking in 2004 to the opening of UCS in 2007 and its subsequent rapid growth both in student numbers and its modern campus in Ipswich.

In 2014 UCS began the application process to become an independent university and in 2015 UCS was awarded the significant step of Taught Degree Awarding Powers allowing the institution to apply for full University Title. On the 1st of August 2016 The University of Suffolk was established.  

Many credited Richard’s leadership and dedication for establishing the new University in record time.

Mark Pendlington, Chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Chairman Ipswich Vision Board and University Board member, said at the time “A University for Suffolk is a triumph for everyone who has worked so hard to achieve this outstanding result. It confirms the place of high quality education at the heart of our economy and community. And it sends a message, loud and clear to the world, that Suffolk is a growing national and international hub for talent, ideas and entrepreneurship, and is one of the best places in the world to learn, work and live. We could not be more proud of Richard Lister and his team.”

On learning about receiving the OBE, Richard said “I feel incredibly honoured, delighted and very surprised. My first thought was that this ought to be shared by everyone who worked tirelessly in achieving the ambition of creating an independent university for the county. I believe passionately that we are here to improve the lives and opportunities of the communities that we serve and to deliver the best education we can for Suffolk.”

Professor Will Pope, Chair of the University of Suffolk Board, said “Richard’s passion and dedication to education and to the University of Suffolk is clear for anyone to see. It was through his unwavering leadership that the University was able to achieve independence in a timeframe that was unprecedented, an achievement of enormous significance to the county of Suffolk. He has done a huge amount for education not just in Suffolk but in his other appointments as well, especially in raising aspirations and widening participation. This honour is thoroughly deserved and I offer Richard my warmest congratulations.”

Richard is Chair of the Board of Directors of the New Wolsey Theatre, a member of the Ipswich Vision Group, Chair of the Greater Ipswich Partnership and a member of the New Anglia LEP Skills Board.


University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476