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University of Northampton awards polar explorer Ben Saunders with Honorary Fellowship

Date 19.07.2016

The University of Northampton is pleased to have awarded Ben Saunders with an Honorary Fellowship at today’s graduation ceremony at the Royal and Derngate.

Ben – a world record breaking polar explorer and long distance skier – joined graduating students onstage to receive his Honorary award.

Known for leading one of the most ambitious polar expeditions in a century, Ben was the first person to successfully complete the epic, 105-day, 1,800-mile trek on foot to retrace Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated, early 20th-century journey to the South Pole – an amazing feat of human endurance equivalent to running 69 marathons back to back.


Of his mammoth expedition, Ben commented: “We can all accomplish great feats through ambition, passion, stubbornness, and refusal to quit. If you dream something hard enough, it does indeed come to pass” – a great mantra for today’s graduating class of 2016.

Over 2,000 Northampton students will be receiving their certificates at the Royal and Derngate this week, alongside four high profile honorands who will be conferred into the University of Northampton family. Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor, commented: “In addition to celebrating the outstanding achievements of the graduating class of summer 2016, we are also recognising high profile individuals who have made a positive impact on others. The recipients of these honorary awards will inspire our graduates as they begin the next exciting stage in their lives, making their own mark on the world.”

The University of Northampton’s Dr Nathan Smith, Lecturer in Sport Psychology, explained why he nominated Ben for the Fellowship: “Ben Saunders has been incredibly supportive of the research endeavours of both myself and Dr Florence Kinnafick. He has actively participated in various projects and in the process acted as an ambassador for the University of Northampton. Over the past two years, he has been generous with his time and always been welcoming to our many requests. After spending time with Ben, it is clear that his personality and drive have shaped his successes, both in the Polar Regions and in his more recent business ventures. Personally, I cannot think of a more inspiring role model for University of Northampton students, and it is a pleasure to see him become a Fellow of the university.”

To find out more about Ben and his expeditions, visit his website. Ben’s Honorary Fellowship video is available online here.