Shirley Pearce

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Dame Shirley Anne Pearce, DBE (born 19 February 1954) is a British academic and psychologist. She is the former Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University,[1] a position she held from January 2006, leaving at the end of the 2011-12 academic year.[2]

Before becoming the University's 7th Vice-Chancellor, Pearce was a Professor of Health Psychology at the University of East Anglia and Dean of the Institute of Health. She had also served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia from 2001-04.


Shirley Pearce was educated at Norwich High School for Girls, before studying Psychology, Physiology and Philosophy at St Anne's College, Oxford University, gaining a BA degree in 1975. She was later awarded an MPhil degree in Clinical Psychology and a PhD degree in Psychology by the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London.


She joined the National Health Service as a Clinical Psychologist at St Mary's Hospital, London in 1977, and remained there until her appointment as lecturer then senior lecturer in Psychology at University College London. Her move to the University of East Anglia (UEA) in 1994 was in order to become the Chair of Health Psychology and the inaugural director of the School of Health Policy and Practice, becoming Dean of the Schools of Health in 1997 and leading the bid for a new medical school at UEA during this period.

Pearce was made Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Health and Professional Schools in 2000, before becoming Dean of the Institute of Health and Director of the Centre for Interprofessional Practice at UEA. During this time she was also a Non-executive director of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Strategic Health Authority and a Commissioner for the Healthcare Commission.[3]


She became Vice-Chancellor of Loughborough University in 2006.


She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2005 Birthday Honours for services to the National Health Service and elevated to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to higher education.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 2012 she married Sir John Gains, the Chief Executive from 1995-2004 of Mowlem.


  1. ^ "University vice-chancellor honoured by appointment". Leicester Mercury. April 3, 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Professor Robert Allison appointed as Vice Chancellor of Loughborough University,, 30 March 2012; accessed 8 December 2014.
  3. ^ Shirley Pearce profile,, January 2006; accessed 8 December 2014.
  4. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 7. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Prof Sir David Wallace
Vice-Chancellor of
Loughborough University

2006 - 2012
Succeeded by
Prof Robert Alison