Solent University has added a dash of showbiz and a great deal of business acumen all in one go after appointing entrepreneur and TV personality Theo Paphitis as its new Chancellor.
The Southampton institution set up what promises to be an intriguing new era by deciding to hand ex-Dragons’ Den judge Paphitis the prestigious role. Having starred in the BBC show for nine series and built a successful business empire over several decades, he brings to the table not just gravitas, but expertise in a number of fields.
The Cypriot is, of course, no stranger to the south coast university. Since collecting an Honorary Doctor of Business at Solent eight years ago, he has paid regular visits to help students with advice on business. What’s more, he cut the ribbon on Spark, the modern teaching and learning building, in 2017, and his daughters also graduated from the university.
What will he do?
When he replaces current incumbent Lord West of Spithead this August, Paphitis will become the university’s leading ambassador and ceremonial figurehead. He will have responsibility for degrees at awards ceremonies and will work closely with the Vice-Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Governors throughout his tenure.
The response to the announcement has been universally positive, with the staff, students and wider Southampton community welcoming the impending arrival of such a high-profile and well-respected figure.
Former Millwall FC chairman Paphitis revealed the city is close to his heart, adding: “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.”
Already a familiar and popular face around campus courtesy of his many visits over the years, his words are sure to resonate with staff and students, who will soon have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to benefit from the wisdom of an industry colossus.