Academic Governor

Professor Sir Les Ebdon CBE DL is a widely recognised leader in the fields of social mobility, higher education and analytical chemistry. As Director of Fair Access to Higher Education from 2012 to 2018, he enabled the number of disadvantaged students in HE to rise to the highest level ever, including a 53% increase at the most selective universities. An award winning Analytical Chemist, he has published over 260 refereed publications. He has enjoyed highly successful periods as Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Plymouth and as Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Bedfordshire.

From 2003 – 2012 he transformed the reputation of the University and increased student numbers to over 25,000 and the income from £38m to £134m. His national roles in higher education have included chairing the University group Million+, Board member of Universities UK and the Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association, as well as chairing the Association of Universities of the East of England. He was awarded a CBE in 2009 for services to national and local higher education and in 2018 was knighted for services to social mobility and higher education. In 2011 he was appointed HM Deputy Lieutenant of Bedfordshire. Currently he is Chair of the National Equal Opportunities Network (NEON), the Council of the University Centre Peterborough, Board member of the University of East London and is President Elect of the European Association of Professors Emeriti.

Baptised as a teenager, he has been a Deacon in 5 Baptist churches and served on Ministerial Recognition Committees. Currently he is a member, Deacon and Church Secretary at Walsworth Road Baptist Church, Hitchin and a recognised lay preacher.