University of Reading: Army leader honored for boosting officer education

A former British Army General who helped develop modern leadership education within the Army has received an honorary degree from the University of Reading.

General Paul Nanson, who served in the British Army for 34 years, received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters in a ceremony on Wednesday 6 July.

General Nanson held many leadership roles during his time in the Army and led operations on almost every continent, including in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and during both Gulf Wars.

During his last role as Commandant of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he strongly championed the establishment of the Army Higher Education Pathway, which enables officer cadets to build on their training and education at Sandhurst, and continue their studies for a Master’s degree, alongside their military career.

This education and training is provided, alongside Sandhurst, by the Henley Business School, and the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University. Today, over one thousand officers and cadets are enrolled on the Army Higher Education Pathway, with the first of them graduating this year.

Professor Dominik Zaum, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Reading, said: “The award of this honorary degree recognises General Nanson’s critical role supporting a close educational and research partnership between the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the University of Reading, and his distinctive contribution to contemporary thinking about leadership, and leadership education.

“In both military and civilian life, leadership is essential, and in a constantly changing world it is critical to reflect on and rethink what leadership is and how it is exercised to the greatest effect. General Nanson not only provided leadership throughout his illustrious military career, he has been instrumental in shaping how leadership is conceived and developed in the British Army.”

After retiring from the Army in 2020, General Nanson founded his own company which offers advice, consultancy and coaching around leadership. He is now a best-selling author on leadership and life skills.