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Foundation Day

Foundation Day is the annual celebration of The University of London’s first charter, granted on 28 November 1836 by William IV.

Our first honorary degrees were presented in June 1903. Among the recipients were the Prince of Wales, and later King George V and Queen Mary.

Since 1903, this accolade has been bestowed on a wide range of distinguished individuals from both the academic and non-academic worlds. Recipients have included Winston Churchill, Judi Dench, T S Eliot, Margot Fonteyn and Henry Moore.

Honorary degrees are approved by the Collegiate Council, who are part of our governance structure. The degrees are presented to the recipients in an evening ceremony in Senate House, held each autumn.

Foundation Day 1933

University Of London Foundation Day (1933) copyright British Pathé

Foundation Day - 29 November 2022

The honorary fellowships and degrees were presented by the University’s Chancellor, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, at the University of London’s Foundation Day. This year’s evening ceremony, which took place in Bloomsbury’s Senate House, marked 186th anniversary of the creation of the University of London by Royal Charter on 28 November 1836.

Honorary Fellowships awarded to:

  • Baroness Valerie Amos and Professor Sir Edward Byrne.

Honorary Degrees awarded to:

  • Lord Victor Adebowale,
  • Baroness Louise Casey
  • Miss Scarlett Westbrook
  • Professor Sir Christopher Whitty.

The four remarkable individuals, who received honours last night, have all made substantial contributions to public life and university in very different ways.

Foundation Day 2022

Foundation Day 2022 Honorary Graduates
In the back row, left to right, are: Professor Sir Christopher Whitty, Professor Sir Edward Byrne, Lord Victor Adebowale. In the front row, left to right, are: Miss Scarlett Westbrook, Professor Wendy Thomson, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Baroness Valerie Amos, Baroness Louise Casey.

Honorary awards are presented by our Chancellor

Her role involves representing the University at a wide range of engagements each year. The Princess Royal has been Chancellor since 1981 and is the 10th person to hold the post since our foundation.