Morrell Fellows

Named in memory of John Bowes (JB) Morrell, who was at the forefront of the campaign to create a university in York, the Morrell Fellowships are a means of recognising a small community of benefactors who have made significant contributions to the fabric and life of the University. The Fellowships were first awarded in 2007.

By honouring our more generous donors in this way, we ensure that their names and achievements are core to the formal history of the University and are forever associated with the highest standards of philanthropy.

The Morrell Fellows are listed here. Click to find out more about their lives and their contributions to the University:

Tom Swan

Tom Swan is chairman of the family owned chemicals business Thomas Swan & Co. He is a longstanding supporter of the University of York’s CIEC Promoting Science (formerly known as the Chemical Industry Education Centre) which promotes science teaching and industry links in schools. Tom has been a CIEC Advisory Board member for 16 years, and Chairman for the last five years.

In 1996 Tom Swan made gift to establish the Children Challenging Industry programme. Th​e​ programme​ aims to positively influence primary school children about the role of the chemical industry. Tom has continued to support the program ​​annually ​and is passionate about engaging young people in the Chemical Industry.

Tom sadly passed away in January 2018.

John Murrell

John is an alumnus of the University of York, graduating in 1968 in Mathematics. After completing a Masters John worked as a software engineer and computer programmer at a number of companies including Marconi and General Electric Company.

John has supported The University of York philanthropically since 2008. ​After seeing the impact of the Achieving Excellence Bursaries for students at York​,​ John decided to make a significant donation. His gift ​wa​s used to encourage others to give and the John Murrell​ ​Matching Fund ​doubled the value of ​all new regular gifts given ​in 2013-14.

John sadly passed away in December 2014.

Patrick Shepherd

Patrick is Deputy Chairman of Shepherd Group, one of the UK’s leading building and engineering companies. Shepherd's was established in York in 1890 and is now one of the largest family-owned private companies in the UK.

Shepherd Group has been closely involved with the University of York since its creation, constructing the first campus buildings in 1965 and continuing to develop new buildings. Shepherd Group has also supported many areas of student life at York through a number of generous donations for building renovation, events and in particular student volunteering.

Patrick is supporting postgraduate students at York through a 50 for 50 scholarship. He has chosen to support a student within the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, a pioneering research centre developing sustainable technology, products and processes.

Patrick also supports a project at the Borthwick Archives to enable conservation of the Atkinson Brierley collection. This collection of the York architects Atkinson and Brierley will provide an invaluable understanding of York’s development and social history.

John Tilney

John studied Economics and Economic History at York, graduating in 1976. He went on to establish a successful career in finance and investment and worked in commodities and futures trading and investment. He was latterly a portfolio manager of Armajaro Commodities, a hedge fund which trades in commodities, hard and precious metals and energy.

John’s philanthropic support at York focused on the Writer in Residence project within the Department of English. This scheme enables students studying English to benefit from creative writing classes led by novelists, poets, screenwriters or playwrights. With John’s support we have been able to attract a number of acclaimed writers including Gillian Slovo, Kamila Shamsie and Adam Foulds. For students at York the opportunity to learn from eminent and successful authors and writers is unparallelled and a number of York students have gone on to publish their own writing. John also supported Masters Scholarships at York. 

John sadly passed away in April 2016.

Sigrid Rausing

Sigrid studied History at York graduating in 1986 then studied for a PhD in Social Anthropology at University College London. She is a publisher and philanthropist and founded the Sigrid Rausing Trust in 1995.    Generous support from the Sigrid Rausing Trust helped to found the Centre for Applied Human Rights at York.  The trust continues to support the Centre and in particular the Protective Fellowship scheme which give human rights defenders from around the world the opportunity to come to York for a period of training and respite.  Sigrid maintains a close interest in the work of the Centre and in promoting and supporting the work of our human rights Fellows.   Sigrid has received numerous awards for her human rights work and philanthropy including joint winner of the International Service Human Rights Award, a Beacon Special Award for philanthropy and the Women’s Funding Network's ‘Changing the Face of Philanthropy’ Award.  She is a member of the jury of the Per Anger Prize for human rights defenders, and the Order of the Teaspoon, a Swedish organisation against political and religious extremism. She was the judge of the Amnesty Media Awards in 2009 and 2010 and Index on Censorship Media Awards in 2012. She serves on the advisory board of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and is an Emeritus member of the international board of Human Rights Watch.

Sir Richard Storey

Sir Richard has a keen interest in plays and literature and has been a generous supporter of the University of York for over ten years through the Sir Samuel Storey Charitable Trust. The Trust's support has enabled the establishment, in the University’s Borthwick Institute, of a unique, and still rapidly growing, archive – the Sir Samuel Storey Writing and Performance Collection. The collection comprises the archives of playwrights, novelists, comedians and screenwriters and provides a fascinating resource for students, staff and the public. The lastest addition to the collection, secured with the Trust's support, is the archive of Sir Alan Ayckbourn. Sir Richard's generosity has ensured that many at the University of York and more widely will be able to share his enthusiasm for literature and drama and benefit from this unique resource.

Sir Richard was chairman of Portsmouth and Sunderland Newspapers for a quarter of a century. On stepping down from the business Sir Richard used his business skills in a variety of roles including as Chairman of York Health Services Trust and in voluntary and civic roles within Yorkshire. Sir Richard received his fellowship in December 2012. 

Tony Cann

Tony Cann has had exceptional success in industry, most notably as founder of Promethean World, the world leader in the global market for interactive learning technology. His business has enabled him to become an exceptionally generous philanthropist with manifold interests united by a desire to back ideas that have the greatest potential to make the greatest difference.

Tony’s involvement with the University of York derives from his passion to find out how children learn and how to develop ever better strategies to help people from all backgrounds achieve their full potential. In providing founding support for the Institute for Effective Education at the University of York, Tony wanted to achieve something that other universities were unable to offer, a research centre that not only carried out evidence based pedagogical research into the effectiveness of educational practice, but also to ensure that this research reached a worldwide audience of educators. 

Supporting the University through the Bowland Charitable Trust, Tony has made the largest philanthropic gifts to the University on record. His support has not only enabled the foundation of the Institute for Effective Education, but also the completion of the spectacular Berrick Saul Building which was completed in June 2009 and stands as one of the UK’s most impressive postgraduate study centres.

Graham Paterson

Graham Paterson was one of the first students to come to the newly founded University of York to study Mathematics and Economics, graduating in 1967. Prior to his retirement he worked for Computer Corporation of America, a leading worldwide provider of high performance database management systems.

Together with his wife Kath, he decided to make a gift to support the University in 2004. With their donation they established scholarships to support undergraduate students from lower income families at York. So far 21 students have benefited from, or are currently supported by the scholarships.

Dr Anthony Wild

After gaining a BA in Chemistry from the University of York, Dr Anthony Wild (Langwith, 1968) has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the development of global pharmaceuticals. His successes have included the development of the cholesterol lowering medication Lipitor which became the world’s largest selling branded pharmaceutical product.

Tony has retained an exceptionally modest and generous personality exemplified best by his commitment to education and, in particular, to chemistry students at York.  His very significant donations, made over a number of years, have enabled over 40 additional international students to study at York. They have also helped the University to secure substantial additional funding to develop the infrastructure for chemistry at York. Tony has demonstrated what a highly successful person with a compelling vision and—most importantly—a truly generous spirit can really do in supporting the University.

Raymond Burton CBE

The University has long had particular reasons to be grateful to Dr Raymond Burton. He contributed to the original library fundraising campaign in the 1960s and in the following years gave to the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and to concert series. In 2003 the Raymond Burton Humanities Research Library opened. He also donated his substantial collection of books, manuscripts and prints relating to Yorkshire. In recognition of this extensive commitment to the University, Raymond Burton was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2000 and a Morrell Fellowship in May 2007.

Raymond sadly passed away in 2011.

C and JB Morrell Trust

The Morrell Studies in Toleration in the Department of Politics were set up by JB Morrell’s son WB Morrell and their friend Edward Goodman. JB Morrell lived through two world wars and the impact of Bolshevism, Fascism and Nazism. His 40 years in public life led him to reason that toleration, like university education, sustains and enhances the conditions of civilized existence. The Trust has sponsored books, articles, seminars, conferences, public lectures and postgraduate scholarships, all exploring issues around toleration. The Trust remains faithful to the vision of its founder and the University was glad to honour almost three decades of support with a Morrell fellowship in May 2007.

Greg Dyke

The Greg’s relationship with the University goes back many years, from arriving as a mature undergraduate in 1971 to giving generously of his time and money in recent years, becoming Chancellor of York (his term ended in 2016). Greg’s is one of the most striking careers in modern British television, and it is fitting that the Greg Dyke Chair was part of the foundation of the Department of Theatre, Film and Television in 2008. This kick-started the new Department, which is rapidly gaining a reputation for innovation and excellence. Greg has also supported extra-curricular activities: the JLD all-weather sports pitch, named in honour of his father, is much used and appreciated. Greg received a BA in Politics from York in 1974, an honorary doctorate in 1999 and a Morrell Fellowship in May 2007.

Jack Lyons

Many students, alumni, staff and friends of the University will know of the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, where music has been performed for forty years. Fewer will be aware of Jack Lyons’ contributions to the 1992 extension to house the gamelan, to the Young Musicians’ Fund, the Music Research Centre and to scholarships for PhDs. Jack Lyons often spoke of his belief in the power of music to transcend boundaries of language, race or politics. Through donations to the University of York, he has demonstrated this belief and transformed the musical life of the city. In recognition of this he was awarded a Morrell Fellowship in November 2007.

Jack sadly passed away in 2008.

Roslyn Lyons

Roslyn Lyons had a passion for music from childhood; that passion has manifested itself in support of music excellence in Yorkshire for sixty years. Roslyn met her husband, Jack Lyons, through music, and following their marriage in 1943 they together became involved in many musical projects, particularly in York and Leeds. Mrs Lyons donated a Steinway piano to the Department of Music at its opening, the art gallery in the music research centre bears her name and the Roslyn Lyons MA scholarships offer opportunities to two UK and two overseas students each year. The Morrell Fellowship was awarded to Roslyn Lyons in November 2007.

Dr Kenneth Dixon CBE

Dr Kenneth Dixon served the University in official capacities from 1983 to 2001, with positions on Court, Council and as a Pro-Chancellor. The awarding of a Morrell Fellowship in November 2007 recognised his generous donations to an array of projects to enhance the University. His gifts have provided library resources for the study of History of Art, instrumental tuition for Music students, a lecture series in Economics and the Dixon Studio Theatre in Wentworth College. This theatre, along with his funding of a visiting professorship of theatre, laid a crucial part of the groundwork for the Department of Theatre, Film and Television.

Ashley Burgess

Ashley Burgess was awarded a Morrell Fellowship in 2008 in recognition of his committed support for PhD students in the Department of Biology. As Director of the Burgess Group, a Yorkshire company producing animal feed, Mr Burgess is particularly interested in biotechnology and agricultural science. The James Burgess Scholarships, in memory of his son, enable important research in Biology and start the academic careers of the next generation of plant scientists.

Mike Dawson OBE

Mike Dawson was awarded a Morrell Fellowship in 2009 in recognition of his commitment to fundraising for the University, as well as his substantial personal donations. As a member of the University council during Ron Cooke’s tenure as Vice Chancellor, Mr Dawson was actively involved in the interior refurbishment of Heslington Hall. His gift towards the refurbishment allowed the project to begin, and many other donors followed his example in giving due to his fundraising efforts.

Susan Joyce

Susan Joyce’s first connection with the University was in 1995, when her son Peter began to study History here. As Mrs Joyce met Peter’s friends she became aware of the financial difficulties faced by many students and, with her husband (also Peter), established the Susan Joyce bursary in 1998. Since then the University has continued to benefit from the Joyces’ generosity, with donations to purchase microfilms, to establish a PhD studentship and to stage a series of lectures celebrating the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade. Mrs Joyce completed an MA in History in 2002 and was a member of court from 2005-2010. She was awarded a Morrell Fellowship in 2010.

Francesca and Gordon Horsfield

Mr and Mrs Horsfield have been closely involved in the University since 1995, and their generosity with time and money was acknowledged with Morrell Fellowships in 2010. Mr Horsfield has been Treasurer and Chair of Council, while Mrs Horsfield played an active role in the Theatre, Film and Television development board. Through the Holbeck Charitable Trust they have supported a wide range of key University initiatives: Holbeck Scholarships, the Centre for Immunology and Infection, the Department of Theatre, Film and Television, the School of Law, and the Digital Library Service. The diversity of these projects demonstrates the range of their interests and the scope of their ambition to make a difference.