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Northumbria's former Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive awarded honorary degree

7th July 2022

Northumbria University has awarded a Doctor of Civil Law to its former Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Andrew Wathey CBE, for his achievements in transforming the University into a research-intensive modern university which is making demonstratable global impact.

Professor Andrew Wathey standing on Northumbria University's City Campus in academic dress, before receiving his Honorary Degree

Professor Wathey joined Northumbria University in 2008 as its Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive. Over his 14-year tenure, Professor Wathey transformed the University, repositioning it as a new kind of excellent university. 

Under Professor Wathey’s leadership – the University’s research power ranking recently rose to 23rd in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, making Northumbria the sector’s largest riser in research power for the second time. Northumbria is the first post-92 university to have crossed the clear blue water that has traditionally separated them from the establishment while improving access for students from less advantages backgrounds.

Professor Wathey’s vision has also had huge impact on the landscape of Newcastle – in 2014 the University partnered with Tesco and Gateshead Council to transform the wider cityscape with a 1,000-bed student accommodation development at Trinity Square. Northumbria's own campus has been transformed during the period of Professor Wathey’s leadership.

The opportunities and career prospects available to students have also been at the heart of Professor Wathey’s strategy. Thanks to research-informed teaching and strong partnerships with industry and business, Northumbria now puts more graduates into professional roles in the region than any other university and does so irrespective of social background.

During his tenure Professor Wathey has also driven Northumbria’s global footprint. The University now has campuses in London and Amsterdam and has more than 500 partner universities and institutions across the world including Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Singapore.

Professor Wathey’s Honorary Doctorate is just the latest recognition in a long line of accolades that mark his contribution to Higher Education.  He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours in 2016 for services to Higher Education.

Professor Wathey received his Honorary Degree during the University’s summer graduation ceremonies on its City Campus. The University awarded nine Honorary Degrees to people who have attained the very highest standards of scholarship or demonstrated outstanding achievement or distinction worthy of national and international recognition in their academic or professional field. Honorary awards are also awarded to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution the University in support of its vision.

A graduate of Oxford University, Professor Andrew Wathey has held posts in Oxford and Cambridge before moving to Royal Holloway University of London. He is a co-founder of the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music (DIAMM) and has served on a number of national bodies and committees. He was most recently appointed as Chair of the National Archives in April this year.

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