The Society for Research into Higher Education

Professor Sir Robert ‘Bob’ Burgess, 1947 – 2022

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Professor Sir Robert Burgess in front of the David Wilson Library, University of Leicester

SRHE Elected Trustee 1999 – 2012
SRHE Honorary Secretary 2004-2008

SRHE Vice President 2008-2013
SRHE President, 2013-2017

The Society for Research into Higher Education is deeply saddened to report the passing of Professor Sir Robert Burgess, always most affectionately known as Bob. During his tenure as Vice Chancellor at the University of Leicester he was also coined ‘Bob the Builder.’ This derived from his commitment to improving facilities at the university, overseeing many new buildings and campus developments.

Bob was an active and engaged President for the Society, meeting often with the Chair of the Society Professor Jill Jameson (University of Greenwich) and myself as Director of SRHE during his tenure, to discuss strategy and current issues and bringing his deep knowledge of higher education and of the Society to bear in his advice and guidance. Bob was a supportive and willing facilitator of others’ work on higher education topics, and his own writing on aspects of social science qualitative research methods, particularly case study, have been widely cited by higher education researchers.

It was a very special pleasure to have Bob preside over the Society’s 50th Anniversary Colloquium, held in June 2015 to mark 50 years from the founding of the Society. It was an occasion to celebrate in every sense, when the Society staged the Anniversary Colloquium at Church House in Westminster on 26 June 2015, 50 years almost to the day on which the society was formally created by a Memorandum of Association on 31 December 1965. The Colloquium then adjourned to a Reception at the nearby House of Lords, hosted by SRHE Vice-President, Baroness Sharp of Guildford and SRHE President Professor Sir Robert Burgess.

It is very sad indeed to lose a great friend, colleague, and supporter of the Society much too soon and our hearts and condolences go out to his wife, Hilary, and to his colleagues at Leicester.     

Helen Perkins, SRHE Director  

We will share a remembrance message about Bob in the April issue of SRHE News. You are warmly invited to e-mail the editor of SRHE News and the SRHE Blog, Rob Cuthbert ( with your thoughts and memories of Bob, or to share these in the comments below this blog post.

Author: SRHE News Blog

An international learned society, concerned with supporting research and researchers into Higher Education

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