Solent celebrates community commitment

Southampton Solent University proudly recognised community commitment from long standing city resident and council representative Councillor Derek Burke this month.

Professor Van Gore, Vice-Chancellor, presented the Southampton Solent University Community Fellowship award to Derek at the annual graduation dinner held at East Park Terrace campus on Friday 22 November 2013.

Derek has made an outstanding contribution to the city over a number of years having secured widespread respect throughout the community and has become a long serving, principled and respected councillor.

Professor Van Gore presented the award and said: “Derek is widely admired and respected across the city, irrespective of party affiliation or other divide.

“He combines energy, personal warmth, stamina, heart and above all huge integrity. We are delighted to award him the University’s Community Fellowship.”

Councillor Derek Burke added: “I was very touched and honoured to have been awarded the fellowship; it’s a privilege to work in our city and to work very closely with the team at Solent.

“The university is in the heart of our city and has a great record of working with us and the wider community. We all deserve recognition for making Southampton a great place to live and work.”

Born in Shirley, Derek was educated at Merryoak School in the city. He has been a stevedore in the city docks throughout his working life and currently works for Solent Stevedores.

He was first elected to Southampton City Council in 1990 and spent the first four years representing the Millbrook ward before being elected councillor for Bargate in 1997.

Elected Sheriff in May 1998, Derek was appointed Chair of the Council following the death of the city’s Mayor, Councillor Michael Andrews, in a flying accident. In May 1999 Derek was first elected Mayor of Southampton, a role he reprieved in 2012.

From 2000 to 2003, he became the council’s Executive Member for Leisure and Tourism with responsibility for Southampton’s sport and recreation facilities, libraries, City Art Gallery, heritage and culture.

Derek has supported the university in both his capacity of Mayor and beyond with his attendance at many key campus events including the One World Fair which welcomes new students to multicultural Southampton during Black History Month, while celebrating their home cultures from around the world.

Having worked in the docks all this life, Derek kindly opened the Port Perspectives exhibition at the university’s Solent Showcase gallery to celebrate the 175thanniversary of the city’s port in October. 


Notes to editors:

About Southampton Solent University

Southampton Solent University offers more than 23,000 students over 200 qualifications ranging from HND to PhD, in subjects such as maritime education and training, fashion and design, media and television, music, health, sport and leisure, business, IT and technology.
The university was awarded the 2013 Quality Assurance kitemark for quality and standards of teaching and learning.
Solent was voted one of the most creative universities in the UK in a Which? University 2013 poll of students.


About Us

Home to around 11,000 students studying everything from HNDs to PhDs, Southampton Solent University is dedicated to enabling learners of all backgrounds to become enterprising citizens and responsible leaders, while also promoting economic and social prosperity. Winner of the Times Higher Education ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ Award 2015, Solent is a dynamic university with strong local links and a growing network of global connections – and a reputation for developing grounded, well-prepared graduates with the skills and experience employers want. Holder of the small business charter, home to one of the world’s leading maritime training academies and voted one of the UK’s most creative universities in the 2013 and 2014 Which? University student polls, Solent applies passion and innovative practice to all its courses. Spanning business and law, the creative industries, engineering and technology, maritime, media, sport and tourism, those courses deliver a practical blend of career-focused tuition and real-world experience – giving our students the tools they need to shape their own success.




I was very touched and honoured to have been awarded the fellowship; it’s a privilege to work in our city and to work very closely with the team at Solent.
Councillor Derek Burke