Loughborough University London celebrates fourth graduation ceremony

Loughborough University London celebrated its fourth graduation yesterday (Wednesday 11 December), honouring the achievements of the class of 2019 and celebrating one of the most powerful figures in British sport.

The ceremonies at the postgraduate campus were presided over by Lord Sebastian Coe, Chancellor of Loughborough University, and saw Liz Nicholl CBE receive an honorary degree in recognition of her outstanding contribution to British high performance sport.

Liz’s remarkable career - spanning 10 Olympic and Paralympic Games - has put British athletes at the forefront of international sport.

Once described as the most powerful woman in British sport, Liz is the former Chief Executive of UK Sport and has presided over record performances by Team GB in recent Olympic and Paralympic Games and transformed the UK high-performance system.

Liz joined the Loughborough family in 1977 as a postgraduate student, studying for an MSc in Recreation Management. Growing up, Liz played netball and she represented Wales in international netball competitions including two world championships, with 22 caps between 1975 and 1979.

In 1980 she was appointed as Chief Executive of England Netball and served in this role for more than 15 years.

Liz joined UK Sport in 1999 as the Director of Elite Sport. She was appointed as Chief Operating Officer in 2009 and a year later was named its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Over the next ten years, under Liz’s guidance, Team GB significantly improved their performance at international sporting events, including record performances at London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016. In doing this Team GB became the first country to increase its medal count at both the Olympics and Paralympics immediately after hosting the Games.

In 2000 Liz received an MBE for her services to netball, followed by an OBE in 2005, and a CBE in 2015 for her services to sport.

Liz retired as CEO of UK Sport in July 2019 and was later named as the new President of the International Netball Federation ahead of the 2019 Netball World Cup.

Professor Tony Edwards, Dean of Loughborough University London, said: “We are delighted to be holding the graduation ceremony for Loughborough University London at which the fourth cohort of students from our flourishing campus are receiving their degrees.

“It is also a particular pleasure to be able to acknowledge the work and contribution to sport of Liz Nicholl to whom we are awarding an honorary degree.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 19/229

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Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2019 QS World University Rankings, University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019 and top in the country for its student experience in the 2018 THE Student Experience Survey.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2020, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and 8th in The UK Complete University Guide 2020.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.

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