Deputy Vice-Chancellor, it is my pleasure to introduce Jason Gardener, who is currently the President of UK Athletics, having been elected in December 2015. Jason is one of Britain’s greatest sprinters who has excelled not only through his achievements in sport but also through his leadership in sport administration, coaching and mentoring future generations of athletes. Born and educated in Bath, Jason attended Beechen Cliff School and the City of Bath College and completed a BSc in media and sociology at Bath Spa University. He is married to Nancy and they are the proud parents of two children, Molly (age 13) and Harry (age 10).
Jason started his athletics career at the World Junior Championships in 1994, where he was placed second in the individual 100m. Ten years later he bettered this result to achieve his first gold medal as part of Great Britain’s 4 x 100m men’s relay team in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. During this period, he also won four European Indoor championship titles over 60 metres and broke the British and European record in 1999. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Jason also won a gold medal in the men’s 4 x 100m relay event. He was also part of the European record-breaking 4 x 100m relay team, along with Darren Campbell, Marlon Devonish and Dwain Chambers, that was set in Spain, with a time of 37.73 seconds. He is a member of the very select sub-10-second club for 100m, with a personal best of 9.98 seconds. Alongside his personal athletic achievements, Jason has assumed leadership roles through captaining both the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Athletics teams.
In 2005, he was awarded an MBE for services to athletics and has been made a Freeman of the City of Bath. During his stellar international career, Jason also maintained his local connection with Bath, competing for the City of Bath Athletics Club and the Wessex and Bath Athletics Club. Jason has a long history of promoting the sport of athletics through his work with a range of elite and community sport organisations. He is a highly regarded motivational speaker, who draws upon his knowledge of sport performance to advise others about developing self-confidence and team work to achieve important goals. Jason’s mentoring has inspired many young people to pursue athletic ambitions that they perhaps may not have otherwise realised. One of our final-year Sport and Social Science students recounted to me how Jason had a significant influence on his own athletic development as a child. The positive effects of Jason’s encouragement continued to shape his transition to adulthood through the value placed on integrity, perseverance and working together in the pursuit of sport and education. Jason has contributed more broadly to the University of Bath through his efforts to raise the international profile of the University and to develop effective relationships with key stakeholders in sport. This has included attracting high-profile teams and sports people to use our excellent campus facilities in preparation for major sporting contests and attracting high-calibre students to join the University.
Jason is highly regarded for his ability to communicate with a wide range of people about the value and challenges of engaging in sport as an individual and collective endeavour. He is a passionate ambassador for the contribution that sport can make to improving the lives of individuals and communities. Through leading by example, Jason has made the successful transition from being a world-class athlete to becoming an accomplished leader who is highly respected within the sport and business world.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, I present to you Jason Gardener MBE, who is eminently worthy to receive the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.