Honorary Fellowships are awarded on an annual basis in recognition of individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the university and in support of a variety of causes linked to the work of the university.

July 2022

Jackie Arnold MBE FCMA

Awarded in recognition of her lifelong and outstanding contribution to strategic development and business growth in Cumbria (July 2022)


Jackie has over 40 years’ experience in business and financial management and has held several senior positions with BAE Systems, the largest defence contractor in Europe. Born in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, her early education was at Barrow Girl’s Grammar School.


Qualifying as a chartered accountant, Jackie worked for 10 years for independent power producer, Edison Mission Energy. Jackie left the business following her appointment as Chief Accountant at BAE Systems. From 2010 she was strategic lead for the business, responsible for the development of a 10-year business plan with a 30-year vision in addition to establishing an innovative approach to inclusive behaviour to attract and retain a diversified workforce to maximise the talent pool for business. Latterly Jackie assumed the role of Head of Strategic Workforce Development and Skills continuing with her ownership of the business’ Social Purpose agenda. Between 2017 and 2019 Jackie was Pro Vice-Chancellor for Employer Engagement at the University of Cumbria and established the Institute for Business, Industry and Leadership. Jackie has significant non-executive experience in public sector, education, and financial services. Between 2012 and 2019 Jackie was Chair of the Furness Economic Development Forum and Vice-Chair of Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership. During this time Jackie was also a member of the Northwest Business Leadership Team. Jackie has held numerous other non-executive roles including governing bodies at local Furness College, Furness Education Trust, and instigator and Chair of the Business Advisory Board at Barrow Sixth Form College.


In the Queen’s New Year Honours 2016 Jackie was awarded the MBE for services to the Cumbrian economy and in 2018 was named on the Northern Power Women Top 50 List of women dedicated to accelerating gender equality and social mobility in the North of England. More recently Jackie is a non-executive Director of the Cumberland Building Society and has chaired their People, Remuneration and Culture Committee since 2019.

Geoff Donnelly

Awarded in recognition of his lifelong and outstanding contribution to financial management, governance and public service (July 2022)


Geoff Donnelly has dedicated his entire life working in industry and supporting public service. Born in Bristol, his early education was at the Forest School in Winnersh, Berkshire. Geoff studied mathematics and management sciences at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology then joined the firm of BOC Ltd (welding products division) starting in factory administration, project management and then became a personnel manager. In 1977 he joined Collinson Grant Consultants Ltd as a management consultant prior to his appointment as Financial Controller of Marks & Spencer plc in 1983. Advancements in technology and the desire to learn more convinced him to undertake a challenging MA in accounting and finance at the City of London Polytechnic graduating in 1990. His final appointment was as Finance Director and Company Secretary of Legrand UK Ltd, the UK subsidiary of Legrand SA, a worldwide leader in the manufacture of electrical wiring accessories where he managed a series of acquisitions and managed the physical as well as the personal side of mergers.


A desire to make use of his financial and management skills saw him register his interest to go into public service and resulted in an offer to join the board of Oxford Brookes University in 2003. He remained a board member for 13 years culminating in being Chair of the Board for four years until his retirement in 2016.


Over the last twenty years Geoff has held a portfolio of non-executive appointments within the Health and Higher Education sectors and the non-profit sector. In the Health sector these have included Health Authority, Strategic Health Authority and Primary Care Trusts. His final appointment was as non-executive director and shareholder of Diagnostic Healthcare Ltd. In education Geoff has been a board member of the Higher Education Academy and the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

In 2010, Geoff joined the board of the University of Cumbria and helped to develop the then fledgling university into one that delivers consistent training and education and has grown its infrastructure for research. He is a firm believer of the need to offer wellbeing support and the university’s success in gaining a reputation for care as well as academic success. Geoff completed his time on the Board as Chair from 2018 to 2021.

Dr Julie Staun

Awarded in recognition of her lifelong and outstanding service to occupational health (July 2022)

Julie Staun has made a formative and significant contribution to the development of Occupational Health Nursing across the UK, the EU and Internationally in a career that spans over fifty years. Born October 1941 in Norwich, Norfolk Julie’s early education was at Blyth School for Girls. She later trained for three-years at the West Suffolk General Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and qualified as a Registered Nurse. In 1966 she took on her first Staff Nurse role at Newmarket General Hospital in Suffolk.

A year later Julie moved to Denmark and her appointment as Staff Nurse at the State University Hospital in Copenhagen, before becoming a Specialist Nurse Anaesthetist – a role she continued at the County Hospital in Frederiksborg until moving to the field of Occupational Health in 1981.

Julie’s distinguished career has seen her transition from a Registered Nurse in the UK to a vastly experienced and pioneering Occupational Health professional.

These experiences have included:


Throughout her career, Julie has made many invited presentations to international conferences and published in specialist journals and magazines.

Julie has received many awards and professional recognition for her commitment to occupational health nursing in Denmark and the European Union. She remains actively involved as a member of the International Commission on Occupational Health and Danish representative of the Federation of Occupational Health Nurses within the EU and was President between 1999 and 2014.

In the Queen’s New Year Honours 2015 Julie was awarded the OBE for services to occupational health in Denmark in recognition of her commitment to her profession.
In 2018, Julie was awarded the title of Doctor of Philosophy (at the age of 76) through the University of Cumbria’s postgraduate programme. The title of her dissertation being ‘investigating the influence of perceptions of control on the engagement of industrial workers in occupational health and safety, and the potential barriers to sustained engagement”.

Nigel Wilkinson MBE

Awarded in recognition of his lifelong and outstanding service to tourism and the economy in Cumbria (July 2022)

Born in Oxford in 1964, before moving to York a year later, his early education was at Pocklington School in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

In 1982 Nigel joined the British Railways Board as a management trainee and sponsored student. This included a place at the University of Nottingham where, in 1987 he graduated with a BSc in Civil Engineering. Between 1988 and 2000 he worked for Garbutt and Elliott, Chartered Accountants, based in York where he progressed from trainee to Chartered Accountant and then to become an Equity Partner in the firm, specialising in Corporate Finance.

In 2000 Nigel joined the marine technical services provider, Lintec Group Ltd as Commercial Director before settling in the Lake District as Managing Director of Windermere Lake Cruises Ltd four years later. In 2006 the corporate structure of the group was changed with the formation of Winander Group Holdings Limited, Winander Leisure Limited and the acquisition of the trade of the Lakeland Motor Museum with Nigel as Group Managing Director.

Nigel has significant non-executive experience in the public, business and tourism sector and has become a respected voice for the region. From 2007 to 2017 he was a Director of Cumbria Tourism. In late 2015 Nigel was elected as chair of the Lake District National Park Partnership’s Business Task Force.

In 2017 Nigel joined the Board of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership. He chairs both its Visitor Economy Sector Panel and Finance, Audit and Resources Committee and is also their representative on the Lake District National Park Partnership.

In late 2020 Nigel was appointed to the Tourism Industry Council, a collaboration between Government and the tourism industry focusing on improving the tourism sector including jobs, transport, and deregulation, which is co-chaired by the Minister for Sports, Tourism and Heritage. In 2021 he joined the South Cumbria Rivers Trust as a Trustee and Director.

In 2016 he was presented with the Bernard Gooch Award for Cumbria Tourism Personality of the Year in recognition of the impact he has had on the sector. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022 Nigel was awarded the MBE for services to tourism and the economy in Cumbria.

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