Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at The University of Exeter, has received an honorary degree from the University of Surrey at a ceremony at Guildford Cathedral today (21st April).
A virologist by training, Professor Roberts spent more than eighteen years at the University of Surrey, serving as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences in her final four years at the University.
Under her leadership, the faculty established the United Kingdom’s eighth School of Veterinary Medicine – the opening ceremony of which was attended by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Professor Lisa Roberts, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at The University of Exeter said: “I am incredibly humbled to have been awarded a ‘Degree of Doctor of the University’ from the University of Surrey. It was wonderful to be back at Surrey – this is where I started my academic career, and the university will always hold a special place in my heart.”
“It is an honour to receive this award and I feel very fortunate to work alongside so many fantastic and inspiring people in my career past and present; as I mentioned in my acceptance speech, it’s those people you work with, your fellow travellers on your career journey, that are key to helping you reach your final destinations.”
Professor Roberts has held her post as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive at The University of Exeter since September 2020, joining from the University of Leeds where she held the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation. At Leeds, Professor Roberts led a step change in the scale, quality, and impact of world-leading research, including the recruitment and development of world-leading academics. She also led initiatives to increase opportunities for students and was a driver of regional partnerships for innovation and economic growth.
Professor Roberts worked as a technical brand manager for Procter and Gamble in the UK and Belgium, before undertaking her PhD at the BBSRC Institute for Animal Health (now the Pirbright Institute) and the University of Kent (1998).
On completing her PhD Professor Roberts earned her first academic post as Lecturer in Virology at Surrey, where she rose to become Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, leading the Schools of Bioscience and Medicine, Psychology and Health Sciences and launched the eighth School of Veterinary Medicine in the UK.
Professor Roberts has a track record of building strong business and civic partnerships in a range of vital UK sectors, and Lisa has put partnerships with businesses to collaborate on green solutions at the heart of Exeter’s 2030 Strategy.
Professor Roberts is also a Board Member of the Russell Group, Jisc and Universities UK. Regionally, she is an inaugural Commissioner for the South-West Social Mobility Commission, and Board Member of the Great South West Partnership and the Liveable Exeter Place Board.
Professor Max Lu, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey, said: “In her eighteen years at the University, Professor Lisa Roberts was a valued member and exceptional leader of the Surrey community. As Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, she made huge contributions to the quality education and excellent research in biological sciences and was instrumental in establishing the innovative School of Veterinary Medicine, which has become an exemplar for clinical education in animal health and beyond.”