The former vice-chancellor of Brighton University has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire at a ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Julian Crampton, who retired at the end of last month, was presented with the insignia by Prince William at an investiture earlier this week.
Professor Crampton, who served as vice-chancellor for 10 years, was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June for his services to higher education.
During his tenure the university grew significantly and now has more than 21,000 students, supports more than 7,000 jobs and generates £700 million a year for the economy.
Brighton University said: “Professor Crampton has also overseen the developments of Falmer, Hastings, the Huxley building and the Cockcroft refurbishment and has been a champion for widening participation.”
He said: “I am personally delighted by the award but I would like to think this is not just about me but a reflection of the hard work by a large number of dedicated people, past and present, who have helped build the University of Brighton into the great institution it is today.”
His parting gift to the university was the creation of new prizes to reward the “unsung heroes” among the staff who work behind the scenes and “go the extra mile”.
John Harley, who chairs Brighton University’s board of governors, said: “The honour of a CBE recognises Julian’s great contribution to education and comes after an outstanding period as vice-chancellor of the university.”
Mr Harley praised Professor Crampton’s achievements. They include the expansion of the university’s campus in the town and the £100 million investment in halls of residence and teaching and sports facilities.
He also led the university as it took a leading role in the Hastings and St Leonard’s Academies Trust which has been credited with bringing about significant improvements in educational attainment.
The university has been the lead sponsor of two secondary academies in Hastings, developed out of three schools whose performance needed significant improvement. Both have since been rated “good” by Ofsted.
Seven primary schools have since joined the Hastings Academies Trust.
Mr Harley said: “Julian’s vision of what this university can and will achieve is legendary and frankly inspiring.
“I am delighted that Julian has been acknowledged by his peers as a serious and respected player in the vice-chancellor community and that his contribution to higher education has been recognised by the award of a CBE.”