Professor of Russian studies from Camden Town made OBE

Professor Geoffrey Hosking

Professor Geoffrey Hosking - Credit: Archant

A professor of Russian history and the co-founder of a service that has helped countless university students cope with depression has been made an OBE for his “services to higher education and students”.

Prof Geoffrey Hosking, 72, is a leading academic in the field of Russian studies, having published a number of books, from exploring the pre-revolutionary Russian Empire to the collapse of the USSR.

Now retired and living in Camden Road, Camden Town, he received his first academic post at the University of Essex in 1966. It was just a few years later that he helped set up Nightline – a Samaritans-style charity providing a confidential helpline to university students. There are now 36 Nightlines covering more than 90 universities.

Speaking of his “delight and surprise” on receiving the honour, he said: “University can be an exciting time but it’s also a time of great change. For many, it’s the first time they’re away from home and there can be a lot of pressure in making new friends, studying a degree, finding a girlfriend, etc.

“So Nightline was set up to provide a sympathetic ear to those who are finding things difficult.”

Prof Hosking is fresh from publishing his latest book, Trust: A History, exploring the “crisis of trust” in today’s society.