Solent University has announced that its new chancellor will be Dragons’ Den star and business entrepreneur Theo Paphitis.
No stranger to Solent, Paphitis has supported the University for a number of years. In 2010 he was awarded honorary doctor of business and went on to support our students with entrepreneurial advice through his regular visits to the University. His twin daughters also graduated from Solent, and in 2017 he opened the Spark – our state-of-the-art teaching and learning building.
Cypriot-born Paphitis has a business empire that spans retail, property and finance. He has bought and revived the fortunes of Ryman, Robert Dyas and many others. Paphitis also launched global lingerie brand Boux Avenue in 2011 and in 2016 added The London Graphic Centre to his portfolio.
Paphitis is also known for his eight years as Millwall Chairman and for his many TV appearances, including most notably nine series on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den. He is also patron to several charities and his businesses have raised over £4 million for Comic Relief and Sport Relief.
As chancellor, he will be the ceremonial head of the University and one of its most important ambassadors. He will preside over and confer degrees at award ceremonies, as well as acting as a figurehead for the University. He will also work closely with the vice-chancellor and the chair of the board of governors.
Paphitis will succeed Lord West of Spithead as Solent’s second chancellor in August. Lord West will preside over his last graduation ceremonies as chancellor in July.
Paphitis said: “I was delighted to be asked to be Chancellor of Solent University, as the area is very close to my heart for many reasons. 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.”