Oxford Brookes pays tribute to Paul Kent

Thursday, 16 March 2017

OBU logo

The University has received sad news of the death of Paul Kent, honorary graduate and former governor, at the age of 93.

Paul began his association with the University in 1964, when he became a governor of the Oxford College of Technology. He continued through its two subsequent changes of status. Vice-Chair and then Chair of Governors at Oxford Polytechnic, Paul then became a foundation governor at what became Oxford Brookes University.

Paul’s academic discipline was biochemistry. He graduated from Birmingham University and completed his doctoral study there and at Jesus College, Oxford.  In the role of lecturer, reader or professor, he worked as a chemist and biochemist at a number of universities in the UK and North America, including Oxford, Durham, Princeton and Harvard.

Paul was widely honoured for his work, with an Honorary Doctorate from Oxford Polytechnic in 1991.  He was also an honorary fellow of Canterbury College, Ontario, a student emeritus of Christ Church, Oxford, and a holder of the Rolleston Prize, the Medal of Société de Chimie Biologique and the Verdienstkreuz (Germany). 

In addition to an honorary degree, Oxford Brookes also named a hall of residence after him, Paul Kent Hall.

Paul was a great friend to the University and supported us for over 50 years. Throughout the years we have valued his great knowledge and wisdom of higher education, and he has been involved in some of the major developments in our history.

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor, Oxford Brookes University

Paul wrote and contributed to a number of works on biochemistry, genetics, medicine and the history of science, including Robert Hooke and the English Renaissance (2005) which described the Oxford scientist whose tercentenary Paul had helped to organise in 2003. 

As a governor and friend of the University, Paul was involved in the securing of Headington Hill Hall, the creation of the new School of Health and Social Care, setting the foundations of our strong rowing tradition by suggesting the purchase of a boathouse and many more of the University’s key achievements. Always passionately interested in rowing and other sports, more recently he purchased some rowing blades for the Oxford Brookes Boat Club, as well as supporting other projects along with his late wife, Rosemary. 

Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, Professor Alistair Fitt said: “Paul was a great friend to the University and supported us for over 50 years. Throughout the years we have valued his great knowledge and wisdom of higher education, and he has been involved in some of the major developments in our history.  

“Back in 1998 we were delighted to be able to name our new halls of residence Paul Kent Hall in honour of his support.  

“Many of our staff worked with him over the years and have fond memories. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”