Arden announces November Honorary Doctorates 2023


As part of its 2023 Winter graduation ceremonies this week, Arden University is delighted to announce Swiss and Raphael Sofoluke have joined our esteemed list of honorary doctorates

UK music artist, Swiss from So Solid Crew, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Arden University to celebrate his ongoing dedication towards addressing the economic inequalities and imbalances continuing to impact Black businesses and entrepreneurs in the UK and wider global diasporic communities.

Following his music career, Swiss founded Black Pound Day in 2020 with the main aim to bring more awareness to Black-owned businesses. On the first Saturday of each month, Black Pound Day encourages consumers to switch up their usual shopping destinations to local and online Black-owned businesses.

‘I feel honoured to receive this recognition from Arden University,’ said Swiss. 'It’s amazing to have your work seen and celebrated in this way.'

'It was a particularly proud moment for me to stand there with so many other black graduates from across the university – it was inspirational for me, my colleagues and my children to see those success stories here on stage.'

'It’s important that as a society we keep enabling people to break through those glass ceilings in front of them, and empowering them to achieve their goals and dreams. We need to set the foundation for the next generation, make them feel like they belong and ensure we give them a platform on which they can go on to achieve whatever they hope to achieve throughout their life.'


Meanwhile, serial entrepreneur, author and visionary, Raphael Sofoluke, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Arden University to recognise his outstanding contribution to celebrating excellence in entrepreneurship and career development throughout the UK’s Black business community. 

Seeking to inspire and connect Black business owners and professionals across various industries, Raphael founded UK Black Business Show and UK Black Business Week. Last year, the UK Black Business Show celebrated its sixth year – attracting over 10,000 visitors and 200 exhibitors.

Extending the initiative’s impact in the Midlands, Raphael launched the Birmingham Black Business Show – which is dedicated to building a sustainable Black business community in the region. 

Speaking about his Honorary Doctorate, Raphael said: 'This is a humbling and incredible award from Arden University – and one which I feel honoured to receive. It’s great to see that the university is highlighting those who are going out and championing diversity within the community, business and the wider world.'

'Throughout my career I’ve aimed to take my frustrations and turn them into an inspiration, using it as a way to help cultivate and grow opportunities for black entrepreneurs. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see people attend the show and ultimately meet their business partner, get a new job, or partner with incredible brands.'

'I’m incredibly proud that this work has been recognised by a university that champions the same values as I do and strives to make a real difference to our society.'

Commenting on the award, Carl Lygo, CEO and Vice Chancellor at Arden University, said: ‘It’s a pleasure to award Honorary Doctorates to both Swiss and Raphael.’ 

‘Swiss has chosen to commit his work to tackling the clear barriers he’s experienced first-hand, to mould future generations and our society. It’s not only inspirational, but a true indication of what can happen if we all take that first step of faith toward our personal passions. There’s been clear dedication, inspired by his own upbringing and challenges, in his line of work – let alone the driving impact this has had on marginalised communities.’

‘Raphael is an incredible advocate for the Black business community. Through so many different initiatives, he has dedicated his career to recognising, celebrating, and championing Black business professionals across the UK. In doing so, he has inspired millions and had a profound impact on countless Black-owned businesses.’

‘We work hard at Arden University to make sure everyone, regardless of their background, upbringing and previous circumstances, gets a chance to achieve the career they’ve always dreamed of. Naturally, this makes both of our recent honorary doctorates a perfect fit for us, and we’re looking forward to seeing what they’ll achieve next for underrepresented communities.’

To find out how you could be graduating with a degree from Arden University visit our course pages today