A new era has begun at the University of Cumbria with the formal inauguration of Professor Julie Mennell as the institution’s vice chancellor.

The ceremony, led by the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Chancellor of University of Cumbria and Archbishop of York, took place at Carlisle Cathedral on Thursday 24 November.

In her inaugural speech, Professor Mennell spoke of her determination to make the university “a strong anchor institution” developing a strong STEM, rural and visitor economy, arts and culture, health and well-being and education portfolio for Cumbria, Lancashire and beyond.”

And with the university set to mark its tenth anniversary next August she told staff and students of her desire to build on the institution’s success so far:

“I make a firm commitment to all of you here today to ensure that as the university’s new vice chancellor I provide, the leadership, directly and by supporting and empowering others, needed for us to enable and inspire success.”

Welcoming Professor Mennell to the university, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu said:

“Partnerships are part of our DNA and are essential in developing and delivering challenging and innovative learning.  Our future success will not just be down to us but also to the many people with whom we collaborate, sharing a common purpose to make tomorrow better.”

Prior to becoming vice chancellor, Professor Mennell was at the University of Sunderland spending time as deputy vice chancellor where her recent role involved leading the university’s development activities including international and transnational activities, student recruitment and product development.

She has also held senior positions at Northumbria and Teesside universities and is a former president and honorary member of the North East Association of Science Education and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, The Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences, Institute of Measurement & Control and the RSA. 

Julie has an international reputation in the field of forensic and crime scene science, having made significant contributions to forensic science strategy, education and workforce development in the UK and overseas, including serving on the Home Office Forensic Science Advisory Council and the Skills for Justice Forensic Science Occupational Skills Committee.

A mathematics and physics graduate from the University of Leeds, Julie holds a PhD in Applied Physics from Teesside University, focused on the radiometric characterisation of pneumatic suspensions of particulate solids, and a PGC Learning & Teaching in HE.

Event speakers included:

  • Euan Cartwright, University of Cumbria Board Chairman
  • Honorary Fellow, Sarah Dunning OBE
  • Academic Officer for the Students’ Union Theresa Pellegrino

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Euan Cartwright, Chair of the University Board

“In Professor Julie Mennell the university has found an inspirational new Vice Chancellor with ambition and vision for our shared future. Julie’s distinguished academic career and extensive experience in management and leadership positions makes her exceptionally well qualified for this role and we look forward to working with her as she writes our next chapter, our future.”

 

Theresa Pellegrino, Academic Officer, Students’ Union

“With challenging times ahead in higher education the students of the University of Cumbria look more than ever to the Vice Chancellor for inspirational leadership. We request that her approach is both innovative and progressive and one that places the importance of the learner at the very heart of the future developments of the university across all of its campuses.”

 

Sarah Dunning OBE, Honorary Fellow

“We know that by working closely with those close to a place, we strengthen our reason for being there. The same is true for the University of Cumbria as a provider of excellent higher education which enhances the lives of individuals and supports the needs of our local economy and fosters the development of the communities to which we belong.”

 

Dr John Sentamu, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Lord Archbishop of York and University Chancellor

“Partnerships are part of our DNA and are essential in developing and delivering challenging and innovative learning. Our future success will not just be down to us but also to the many people with whom we collaborate, sharing a common purpose to make tomorrow better.”

 

Vice Chancellor’s Citation

Dr Sheila Pankhurst, gave the Vice Chancellor’s Citation.

“She has seen how far the university has progressed in a relatively short space of time and, as we move towards our tenth anniversary, that there is much for her to build on and to celebrate.”

 

Professor Julie Mennell

Professor Julie Mennell, Vice Chancellor set out her vision for her tenure as Vice Chancellor highlighting the need for the creation of closer ties with partners across Cumbria and beyond.

“...to fulfil our potential and those of others, partnerships and partnership working will be key – at all stages of the educational journey and spectrum. Raising aspirations, providing accessible learning, building progression routes into Further Education, Higher Education and into employment, across employment and careers and importantly in attracting new talent into the region to study, live, work and settle here.

Therefore, our university focus going forward will place a strong emphasis on identify, place and provision with partnering a thread running throughout: we will seek to play a strong anchor institution role in place making and people shaping across our locations, developing and demonstrating a strong STEM, Rural & Visitor Economy, Arts & Culture, Health & Well-being and Education portfolio for Cumbria, Lancashire and beyond, with locations and routes into and through higher education.”

And pledged to steer the University forward at the start of the institutions’ tenth anniversary:

“I make a firm commitment to all of you here today to ensure that as the university’s new Vice Chancellor I provide, the leadership, directly and by supporting and empowering others, needed for us to enable and inspire success.”

Meet our new Vice Chancellor

Professor Julie Mennell

Professor Julie MennellPrior to becoming Vice Chancellor, Julie held Deputy Vice Chancellor positions (Development and Academic) at the University of Sunderland over a six year period.

Julie held the position of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) for the University of Sunderland for five years, having responsibility for the academic and research provision, student experience and graduate outcomes, student and learning support and quality assurance and enhancement. Her more recent Development brief encompassed leadership of the university’s development activities including international and transnational activities, student recruitment and product development.

She has held senior positions at Northumbria and Teesside universities and is a former President and honorary member of the North East Association of Science Education and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, The Chartered Society for Forensic Sciences, Institute of Measurement & Control and the RSA.

Julie has an international reputation in the field of forensic and crime scene science, having made significant contributions to forensic science strategy, education and workforce development in the UK and overseas, including her serving on the Home Office Forensic Science Advisory Council and the Skills for Justice Forensic Science Occupational Skills Committee.

A mathematics and physics graduate from the University of Leeds, Julie holds a PhD in Applied Physics from Teesside University, focused on the radiometric characterisation of pneumatic suspensions of particulate solids, and a PGC Learning & Teaching in HE.

Event Speakers

Chancellor, The Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York

Vice Chancellor InstallationChancellor, The Most Revd & Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York was born in Uganda, the sixth of thirteen children. Encouraged in his education by English missionaries and teachers, he graduated in law from Makerere University, Kampala.

He practised Law both at the Bar and at the Bench before he came to the UK in 1974. He read theology at Selwyn College Cambridge where he gained a Masters Degree and a Doctorate and trained for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. Following his ordination in 1979 he spent the next 17 years serving as Assistant Chaplain, Curate, Priest-in-Charge, Parish Priest and Vicar across many parishes in the district of South London.

In 1996 he was appointed Bishop for Stepney, Bishop for Birmingham in 2002 and in 2005 was inaugurated as the 97th Archbishop of York. He is Primate of England and Metropolitan, a member of the House of Lords and a Privy Councillor.

In 2007 Dr Sentamu was installed as the Inaugural Chancellor of the University of Cumbria.

Dr Sentamu is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. His interests include music, cooking, reading, athletics, rugby and football. He is married to Margaret, and they have two grown-up children, Grace and Geoffrey and two grown-up foster children.

Chair of the University Board of Directors, Euan Cartwright

Euan Cartwright Vice Chancellor InstallationEuan Cartwright was brought up and educated in Yorkshire where his father was a welder and Methodist lay preacher. He worked in youth and community work for several years, first in Birmingham, then in the Ardeche and in London.

In 1977, he took responsibility for the community and recreation programmes at Ashford Borough Council, becoming Deputy Chief Officer. In 1983, Euan moved to Carlisle as Director of Leisure, leading the development of the Sands Centre and Tullie House.

For a generation he has played an instrumental role in shaping the county’s higher education landscape on a voluntary basis. Euan joined the board of the Cumbria College of Art and Design in 1991 and became chair in 2005, chairing the shadow board which led to the formation of the University of Cumbria in 2007.

In November 2013 he was awarded an honorary fellowship from the university for his outstanding contribution to the development of arts and culture and for services to higher education in Cumbria. In August 2014 Euan became Chair of the Board of Directors of the University of Cumbria.

Married to Corinna, former head of the James Rennie School, Euan is actively involved in the life of the local community as a Governor of William Howard School, Chair of Brampton Badminton Club and Carlisle Ski Club.

Honorary Fellow, Sarah Dunning OBE

Sarah Dunning Vice Chancellor InstallationA well-known local businesswoman, Sarah Dunning is chief executive of the Westmorland Family which runs Tebay Services, Gloucester Services and the Rheged Centre near Penrith and employs 1,000 people.

Sarah Dunning OBE was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Cumbria in November 2012 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to business in the community and her charitable work in supporting Cumbrian initiatives. Sarah was born in Cumbria and educated at St Anne’s School in Windermere. A languages graduate, Sarah spent her early career in corporate roles in London before returning to Cumbria in 1999 to join the family firm, Westmorland Ltd, as Human Resources Director. In 2005 she took over from her father as Chief Executive and has continued to expand the family business. Since then Westmorland has expanded to the Southwest where Sarah has led the creation of a second eco-friendly motorway service area on the M5, near Gloucester. Above all, Westmorland is committed to creating businesses which make a difference to their locality, by working with local food producers and connecting with their local environment and communities.

Academic Officer Students’ Union, Theresa Pellegrino

Theresa Pellegrino Vice Chancellor InstallationTheresa is the Academic Officer of the student union and a graduate of the BA (Hons) Event Management course programme.

Theresa Pellegrino was born in Zimbabwe and spent her school years in South Africa and Portugal before moving to the UK in 1998. She completed two NVQ’s in beauty and a BTEC in lifelong learning while raising two young children and working part time. As the only person in her family to attend university, and to complete a degree despite not completing secondary school, she is passionate about helping others see their worth as well as supporting other mature and ‘returning to education’ students during their time at university. As the current Academic Officer for the UCSU, she is keen to support students with academic issues, continue the work with student representatives and initiate the Heartstart Campaign to train as many students as possible in basic CPR first-aid skills. Her interests include days out with her family, films, travelling and crafting.

Contact us

Ceremonies Office
University of Cumbria
Lancaster
LA1 3JD

Tel: 01524 384230
Email: vcinauguration@cumbria.ac.uk