Back Back

First female Black Rod honoured


The first woman to be appointed Black Rod has received an honorary degree from the University of Wolverhampton.

Sarah Clarke, who attended Wolverhampton Girls High School, was honoured at a graduation ceremony on Friday, 14 September 2018.

The Honorary Doctor of Letters was presented in recognition of her achievements and to celebrate her appointment as Black Rod, particularly given her connection to the city.  

She said: “It is a great honour to be given this award. I am very proud of where I come from and I am delighted and humbled by this tribute from my hometown University. The whole acknowledgment from the University of Wolvehampton means a tremendous amount to me."

Sarah Clarke is the first woman to be appointed to the role of Black Rod in the House of Lords in its 650-year history.  

Black Rod is appointed by the Monarch on the recommendation of a selection panel chaired by the Lord Speaker. She also holds the post of Serjeant- at Arms for the House of Lords and is an Officer of the Order of the Garter. 


Prior to taking up post in February 2018, she was the Championships Director at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, responsible for the organisation of The Championships, Wimbledon.  

Her career since leaving the City has seen her focus on complex project, event and venue management, holding roles at four Olympic Games, the London Marathon and UK Sport as well as at Wembley National Stadium, the Football Association, Women's Tennis Association, and the charity Care International.  

A native of Wolverhampton, and a supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers, she attended Wolverhampton Girls High School. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Surrey (Roehampton Institute) and a Master’s degree from the University of Leicester.  Her spare time is spent walking, drawing cartoons and when possible, volunteering and undertaking activities for various charities.   

Honorary awards are presented by the University of Wolverhampton to people who have made a significant contribution to their field of expertise. 

The University’s graduation ceremonies take place at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, from Thursday, 13 September to Friday, 21 September 2018.

For information about courses to study at the University, visit:

Further information

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: Friday, 14 September 2018

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

Share this release

Related Stories