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Exeter University's Sir Steve to receive Freedom of the City

Published: 4 February 2019

Sir Steve Smith Sir Steve Smith

Exeter University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Steve Smith, will be awarded the Freedom of the City tomorrow (Tuesday 5 February).

Professor Sir Steve Smith is to be honoured for his outstanding service to the city of Exeter during his 16 years as Vice Chancellor at the University of Exeter.

The private ceremony will take place at Exeter’s historic Guildhall.

Over recent years, the University of Exeter has grown considerably, bringing financial benefits to the city and has become one of the top universities in the country and indeed the world.

It is a leading member of the top Russell Group universities, committed to delivering outstanding research and teaching with excellent links to business and the public sector. The University of Exeter now attracts students from all over the world, a positive benefit to the City. The medical school, established during Sir Steve’s leadership, is recognised as one of the best in the UK.

After being nominated last year Sir Steve said: ““It would mean a lot to me to receive this honour but much more importantly I think it would mean a lot to my colleagues at the university. This is because over the last 16 years a large number of staff in the university and the City Council have spent a lot of time building a supportive and productive relationship between the two organisations.

“The incredible success of the city in recent years owes a lot to a large number of people, but a central role has been played by the way the university and City Council have worked together on education, on the economy, on arts and culture, and on planning. The results have benefited the population of Exeter at a time when many parts of the UK have suffered through austerity.

“The City Council, working with key partners including the university, have done much to alleviate those problems here. I have been incredibly pleased to see the development of the city during my time here and have been both proud and very happy to be a small part of that process. This honour would be the clearest possible indication of the ways in which by working together the City Council and the university have achieved so much for the city and the region. I accept with humility and warmth.”

The City Council awards Freedom of the City to a number of military units with a close connection to the city as well as individuals who deserve the honour.

In the past, the position has been awarded to such names as Lord Nelson, Liam Tancock, Jo Pavey, Tony Rowe, Rob Baxter and Michael Caines.

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