Brighton & Hove Albion Chief Executive to receive University of Sussex honorary degree
Posted on behalf of: Lauren Ellis
Last updated: Thursday, 25 May 2023
Brighton & Hove Albion Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman, Paul Barber OBE, has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Sussex, in a moment which will cap a memorable season for The Seagulls.
Paul was appointed Chief Executive of Brighton & Hove Albion in 2012, and became Deputy Chairman in 2018. Under Paul’s leadership, Brighton & Hove Albion were promoted to the Premier League for the first time in 2017, and have stayed in top flight football ever since. He was made an OBE for services to football in His Majesty The King's New Year Honours List 2023, and was named Premier League CEO of the Year at the Football Business Awards 2023 in May.
Paul will be presented with his honorary degree at the University of Sussex’s summer graduation (17 – 21 July 2023).
In addition to Paul, five other recipients will also receive an honorary degree including an acclaimed artist, two parliamentary peers, an engineer and an academic.
These include Baroness Valerie Amos, the first Black woman to lead a university; Dr Gail Lewis, a leading Black feminist academic, activist and psychotherapist; Lord Peter Hain, former apartheid activist and Cabinet Minister; award-winning interdisciplinary artist, Dr Katrina Palmer; and engineer Richard Atkins, who advanced race car engines.
Those selected to receive honorary degrees have achieved academic excellence in their field or have played an important public role, contributing to development, progress or change in society. Many of the individuals who have been selected this year are local to the Sussex area, and all are well-known for their pioneering and progressive work across the UK.
Professor Sasha Roseneil, the University of Sussex’s Vice-Chancellor, says:
“In July, the University of Sussex will celebrate the graduation of our students and will recognise people who have made outstanding contributions to society or their field of expertise with the conferral of an honorary degree. Having dedicated over 25 years to professional football and over 10 years to Brighton & Hove Albion, the University of Sussex is delighted to be awarding Sussex local, Paul Barber OBE.
“This year’s honorary graduates have impressive and varied careers, and notably some are Sussex alumni. We look forward to inviting them to this year’s summer graduation celebrations and we know that their achievements will inspire our students as they embark on creating their lives beyond university.”
Tony Bloom, Chair of the Brighton & Hove Albion, says:
“On behalf of everyone at Brighton & Hove Albion I’d like to extend my warm congratulations to Paul; we’re all extremely proud of him and his achievements for the club and it’s been quite a season for him both personally and with our performance on the pitch.
“This award from the University of Sussex is richly deserved and again it recognises his incredible work at the club as our chief executive and deputy chairman and in the wider football world.”
2023 Honorary Graduates
Baroness Valerie Amos is a former Labour politician and diplomat who served as the eighth UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. She sits in the House of Lords as a Labour Life Peer. Baroness Amos was the first Black woman of African Caribbean heritage to serve as a cabinet minister in the British Government. In higher education, Baroness Amos was appointed Director of SOAS in 2015, becoming the first Black woman to lead a university in the United Kingdom and, since September 2020 has been Master of University College (Univ) Oxford, the first-ever Black head of an Oxford college, and the first female head of Univ.
Richard Atkins is an automotive engineer who has not only contributed to the development and design of domestic cars and fuel systems but has supported the engineering education of young people for over 60 years. Richard was a senior member of the team that developed the World championship Coventry Climax Formula One racing engine that powered the Lotus car which led to Jim Clark winning the World Championship in 1963. Richard was also responsible for the advanced development of the Tecalemit Jackson Fuel Injection System, which was widely used in racing cars and was the basis for electronic fuel injection systems in conventional cars and later, motorcycles and even light aircraft. Richard is an extremely active member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, where he has championed the use of motor sport to engage young people in engineering, as indicated by the award in 2008 of Member of the Year within the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.
Paul Barber OBE
Paul Barber OBE is the Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman of Brighton &Hove Albion FC. He has spent more than 25 years working in football administration at all levels of the game and is recognised as being one of English football's most experienced executives having previously worked for The Football Association, Tottenham Hotspur FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Major League Soccer. Paul was appointed Chief Executive of Brighton & Hove Albion in 2012, and became Deputy Chairman in 2018. Under Paul’s leadership, the club were promoted to the Premier League for the first time in 2017 and have stayed in top flight football ever since. Paul is currently a member of The FA Council and Professional Game Board. He was made an OBE for services to football in HM The King's New Year Honours List 2023 and was named Premier League CEO of the Year at the Football Business Awards 2023 in May.
Lord Peter Hain
Lord Peter Hain, an alumnus of Sussex, has been a leading anti-apartheid activist, a Cabinet Minister, Privy Councillor, MP, Peer, and social justice campaigner for more than 50 years. Lord Hain obtained degrees at Queen Mary College, London and the University of Sussex. The son of South African born anti-apartheid parents, the family forced into exile in the UK in 1966, he first came to prominence by leading militant campaigns from 1969-70 to stop racist South African sports tours under apartheid. He was elected Labour MP for Neath in 1991 where he sat until 2015, serving also as a government minister for 12 years, seven in the Cabinet. Retiring in 2015 to become a Life Peer, he has waged campaigns against global corruption. Lord Hain has written or edited 26 books and is involved in notable charitable work. He is married with two sons and seven grandchildren.
Dr Gail Lewis
Dr Gail Lewis is a Sussex alumna and a distinguished feminist academic and Black feminist activist and psychotherapist. Currently a Visiting Professor at Yale University in the Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Reader Emerita of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College, Gail was a long-standing member of Brixton Black Women's Group and a co-founder of the Organisation for Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD). She has been the co-editor of European Journal of Women’s Studies, a member of the editorial collective of the Feminist Review, and a leading proponent of the Women’s Liberation Movement during the 1970s and 80s.
Dr Katrina Palmer
Dr Katrina Palmer is a Sussex alumna and is an artist, writer and academic, whose multidisciplinary art work explores our physical and psychological relationships with objects – their presence, their absence, and our ability to conjure them in our imagination. Now a lecturer in fine art at the Slade School of Fine Art, Dr Palmer’s career has seen her win the 2014 Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for artists. In 2015, she was shortlisted for the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award. Her works have featured in many exhibitions, including at the Tate Britain and Hayward Gallery in London.