Sir Bob Burgess bids fond farewell

Professor Sir Bob Burgess bids farewell after 15 years’ transformative leadership at the University of Leicester

Praise has been heaped upon the influential outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester for transforming the institution and placing it among the top 2% of universities in the world.  

Colleagues gathering at a farewell reception heard of Sir Bob’s many honours and distinctions – and his ‘can do’ approach to matters and his ability ‘to get things done’. 

Thanking everyone, Sir Bob said: “The University is absolutely everyone, and everyone is a vital part of it. I’ve really enjoyed working with you and I’ve really enjoyed a whole range of activities across the University. 

“I think it’s the best job that I’ve ever had in the higher education sector – it’s a really great job and it’s a great job because all of you have made it great.”

During his 15 years’ distinguished service as Leicester’s longest serving Vice-Chancellor Leicester increased its position in the national league tables and won University of the Year, as well as the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the third time.

He saw his institution win international plaudits for its work around the discovery and identification of King Richard III, and Leicester’s claim to fame was embedded in its culture of inter-disciplinary and collaborative approach to world-class research and innovative teaching. 

Professor Burgess feels that building the University of Leicester’s self-confidence has been one of his greatest achievements. “Becoming more self-confident has enabled the University to increase the quality of everything it does. It has also helped push it up the league tables so that it now appears in the top 20 of universities in the UK,” he said.

Sir Bob is continuing this work into retirement and is becoming president of the Society for Research into Higher Education as well. He will also continue to be Chairman of the Board of the National Centre for Social Research. 

“I am actively looking for other things,” he says. “I don’t wish to be as busy as I am now but equally I don’t want to be in a situation where I have a lot of spare time.”  



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