The University of Cumbria’s role as an anchor institution bringing higher education to Cumbria and working across Cumbria’s key sectors was confirmed during a high-level gathering held during graduation week.
University Chancellor the Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York joined 70 guests drawn from industry, business, commerce, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, the NHS, tourism, arts and local authorities at an event held at the Halston Hotel, Carlisle (28 November).
Vice Chancellor Professor Julie Mennell welcomed guests and highlighted the achievements of staff and students: “Last year we celebrated ten years as a university and saw our 30,000th graduate succeed, delivering significant impact to people, place, communities and the economy”.
Professor Mennell told guests: “We have positioned ourselves very purposely to deal with the challenges facing higher education as well as operating in this part of the country.”
“With collaboration, we can, we need and we want to do more, to ensure Cumbria and its population, young and older, have the confidence and capability to thrive and to meet the current and future needs of our county and the wider Borderlands region”.
The university is in year two of its new strategic plan focused on developing routes into and through higher education. Attracting new talent into the region, building existing areas of provision and developing new areas to meet industry and business needs.
This will see the establishment of two new university institutes in the New Year focused on health and business and industry. They will include an emphasis on digital, visitor economy and aviation and logistics skills.
The former institute led by newly-appointed Professor Brian Webster-Henderson, Pro Vice Chancellor for Health and the latter Jackie Arnold, Pro Vice Chancellor Region and Employer Engagement.
The event was held in the week when over a thousand students graduated at ceremonies held at Carlisle Cathedral.
Supported by two and a half thousand friends and family the ceremonies are a major draw boosting the city’s economy.
Chancellor Dr John Sentamu reinforced the benefits and potential of partners working strategically with the university to ensure the university and region continue to flourish: “The light that shines farthest, shines strongest nearest home. We must support our university.”
Nigel Wilkinson, managing director of Windermere Lake Cruises, board member of the Cumbria local enterprise partnership and lead for Cumbria Visitor Economy, said: “The university is embedded in the heart of our community.”
He added: “From a business perspective the role of the university is absolutely vital and the university is creating the future for industry in Cumbria. It’s fantastic to see the University of Cumbria continue to develop and succeed and we are delighted to be part of it.”