Steve Cram is stepping down as Sunderland University's Chancellor after 11 years in the role.
During his time as Chancellor, Mr Cram has officiated at more than 100 graduation ceremonies and personally congratulated over 30,000 students as they crossed the stage at the Stadium of Light to receive their academic awards.
Speaking ahead of his departure, Mr Cram praised the university for going "from strength to strength" as it continues to grow - and pledged to keep in touch with its work in the future.
He continued: “I am honoured and deeply proud to have been Chancellor of the University of Sunderland for over a decade. It has been immensely rewarding to see so many students achieve their ambitions at this life-changing university.
“Over the past decade I have seen the University go from strength to strength as it has grown in stature and confidence, both in Sunderland itself and at its campuses in London and Hong Kong. I will continue to keep in close touch with institutional developments such as the University’s new School of Medicine which opens next September.”
Mr Cram will make his final address to the congregation at graduation ceremonies this July, and present the students with their academic awards.
John Mowbray OBE, Chair of the Board of Governors at Sunderland University, thanked the athlete for his commitment to the role, and the inspiration he has given to students and their families.
He added: "As well as being an outstanding role model for our students, he has been a great regional, national and international ambassador for our university and the city.
"Steve has been a particular advocate of the university’s work to widen participation, at the same time as championing the value of higher education.
"He has given many engaging media interviews and spoken at events on behalf of the university. He will certainly be a hard act to follow.”
Sir David Bell KCB, University of Sunderland Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, said that an announcement about the new Chancellor will be made soon.