Honorary degree for Peter Johnson

Photo of Peter Johnson being awarded honorary degree certificate by Professor Gavin Brown

One of Merseyside’s best-known businessmen and former owner of Everton and Tranmere Rovers football clubs, Peter Johnson, has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Liverpool.

Peter left school at 16 and became a trainee butcher in the family business before becoming a major supplier of Christmas hampers and founding the highly-successful Park Group, the UK’s leading multi-redemption gift voucher business headquartered in Birkenhead.

In 1987, he established the Johnson Foundation to support the advancement of education, preservation and protection of health, and relief of poverty and sickness in the Liverpool City Region.

He said: “As I accept this honorary degree, I am reminded of the importance of education and the impact it can have on individuals and society as a whole. While I may not have had the opportunity to pursue higher education, I recognize the value of learning and knowledge. The University of Liverpool is an exceptional place of learning for so many students, and within my own family, two of my grandchildren are proud alumni.”

“I want to express my gratitude for this honour and to congratulate all of the graduates of 2023. Should I have been able to attend a ceremony in person, I would have offered you this piece of advice as you embark on your own journeys. I encourage you to be bold, take risks, and always keep sight of your goals. With hard work and determination, anything is possible.”

University of Liverpool Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education, Professor Gavin Brown, said: “The University awards honorary degrees to individuals who are pre-eminent in their field, or those who have achieved national or international eminence in public life or a particular activity. We also take great pride in recognising individuals who have given a particular service to the University or made an outstanding contribution to the city or region.

“Peter Johnson throughout his career embodies all these attributes. A successful businessman and philanthropist, founding the Johnson Foundation which supports projects across the Liverpool City Region around education, health and poverty relief.”

Peter received his honorary degree at a special conferral ceremony as part of a series of bespoke ceremonies to honour those who would have received awards in 2020 and 2021 when graduation ceremonies could not take place because of the covid-19 pandemic.