Liverpool Hope University will bid a fond farewell to outgoing Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Professor Gerald Pillay, later this month.
After leading the University for almost 20 years, Professor Pillay is set to retire from his post at the end of December.
He will forever have the honour of being Hope’s first Vice-Chancellor and he departs having presided over a significant chapter in its history.
Under his leadership the University has changed exponentially, benefitting from substantial investment to become a truly modern institution noted for the quality of its research-informed teaching.
Commenting on Professor Pillay’s retirement, Chair of the University Council, Revd Canon Peter Winn said: “Professor Pillay has led Hope for 20 years and during that time has guided our transformation as we have become a university widely acknowledged and celebrated for our teaching and research excellence.
“He is a man of great humility and is the first to recognise and commend the contributions of his colleagues, but his commitment and his contribution to the University has been immense.”
Appointed Rector in 2003, Professor Pillay assumed the role of Vice-Chancellor two years later when Hope was given full university status.
That was the first of many academic achievements.
Research degree-awarding powers were granted in 2009, with a well-established research culture reflected in the results of the last three Research Excellence Frameworks.
In 2017, Hope received Gold status in the Teaching Excellence Framework, and in 2019, Professor Pillay led the celebrations to mark the 175th anniversary of the University’s first college being established.
He has also overseen the transformation of Hope’s campuses, which have received significant investment during his tenure.
This includes the opening of the Eden Building in 2010, the state-of-the-art Health Sciences building and new sports facilities in 2016, and now the launch of the new IQ Building with its Simulation Laboratory.
Professor Pillay also established the Creative Campus in Liverpool city centre, including the opening of the Capstone Building and the addition of a new Arts Centre, as well as the renovation and expansion of the Grade II-listed Cornerstone Building.
Given the scale of his achievements, it is no surprise that Professor Pillay has also received numerous personal accolades throughout his time at Hope.
In 2009, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for Merseyside, and in September 2021, he became the President of Initiatives of Change International. Later that year he was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, receiving an OBE for services to higher education.
In recent weeks, Professor Pillay has been honoured with a series of events and, as he prepares to embark on a new stage of his life, everyone at Liverpool Hope University sends him their very best wishes.