UCLan announces new chair of its board

By Tim Aldred

12 Oct 2023

Dame Sue Ion

Dame Sue Ion has been promoted the chair of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) board, following the retirement of David Taylor after nearly ten years in the role. 

Dame Sue, who previously held the role of deputy chair, has enjoyed a distinguished career in the energy sector. She worked for British Nuclear Fuels from 1979 to 2006, rising to the roles of technology and operations director and chief technology officer.

Throughout her career, Dame Sue has been a trusted adviser and consultant to the government on energy matters, with a focus on nuclear energy. She served on the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and on two of the UK’s Research Councils as well as chairing the Government’s Nuclear Innovation Research Advisory Board from 2014 to 2016. 

She was recognised in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours and awarded one of the higher orders of chivalry, a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE), for services to science and engineering especially for encouraging underrepresented groups to study science and engineering subjects and for the international impact she has achieved on energy strategy, both in the UK and internationally.

Dame Sue said: “I’m immensely proud to have the opportunity to lead an institution with such a long and successful history as it heads towards its 200th year in 2028. I’m inheriting an extremely ambitious and optimistic team at UCLan.

“Everyone connected with the university has an unwavering focus on transforming lives, innovating our approach to teaching, and increasing our reputation in research and its effect on wider society.

“Rest assured that during my tenure students will remain at the very heart of everything UCLan aims to achieve, and I’ll strive to build upon David’s outstanding legacy.”

David Taylor joined the board of governors in 2013 and became chair in 2014. He was the figurehead and mastermind for the initiation, development and delivery of the University’s £200m Campus Masterplan, which began in 2015, with a vision to create a state-of-the-art, sustainable campus that would enable all students to enjoy the best possible University experience.

David saw this vision to fruition when, in 2021, the final stage of the Masterplan was completed with the opening of the Student Centre and University Square, which has been transformational for the University and the wider city of Preston.

David inspired the university’s developing presence in East Lancashire, expanding the footprint and provision at the UCLan Burnley Campus. This included the acquisition and redevelopment of the Victoria Mill and Newtown Mill sites in the historic Weavers' Triangle area of Burnley in partnership with Burnley Borough Council. In Cumbria, David has been instrumental in the expansion of UCLan’s Westlakes Campus, including the acquisition of new student accommodation at Summergrove Hall.

In addition, David initiated the Strategic Regeneration Framework, which includes the three civic anchors of UCLan, Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council, which is the vehicle for inclusive and sustainable built environment regenerative projects in the city of Preston in the coming years.

He was awarded a CBE for services to the community of Lancashire in 2007 and is the current High Sheriff of Lancashire,

Prof Graham Baldwin, UCLan vice-chancellor, said: "On behalf of the University, I want to thank David for the fantastic contribution he has made in helping UCLan to be the best we can be and to ensure we continue to improve the student experience.

"David’s willingness and capability to take on additional responsibilities in an entirely voluntary capacity throughout his Chairmanship have contributed significantly towards the success of the University over the last decade, and its growing global presence."

David said: "I’m proud to have been Chair of the University Board for almost a decade and play a supportive role in helping UCLan to strengthen its reputation and grow into a truly international institution.”

“I wish my successor, Dame Sue Ion, every success in her new role.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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