Council profiles

Philip Stott – Chair

Philip has a long history of administration and teaching in Tertiary education, having been both a Head of Department and a Dean at SOAS (University of London). He is a passionate supporter of the ethos of U3AC, and presents lectures to adult education organisations and societies more widely. He has particular interests in classical music and natural history (Gilbert White, Darwin, and Henslow), and is married with two grown-up daughters.

Michael Gibbs – Vice Chair

Graduate of “the other place” I have lived in Cambridge for the past 30 years following 15 years in the energy industry in Europe and Latin America (fluent in French and Spanish), before migrating to consulting. I initially joined the U3AC Africa Forum due to my interest in the continent from African parents and have been a member of the Council since 2021. I lead the Strategic Review Sustainability work stream, am on the Finance committee, edit the zoom lecture recordings, and have recently run a course on genealogy.

Kevin Holmes – Treasurer

Kevin has lived and worked in a variety of industries and countries with his most recent experience as a Management Consultant in Singapore. He has been a member of U3AC for 5 years and continues to enjoy the wide range of courses and activities on offer. He has been on the Council for 1 year and is currently the treasurer of the Council.

Sally Livesey – Secretary

My early background was in teaching and town planning, followed by working in administration in the private sector, charitable organisations and the public sector. For the twenty or so years before retirement I worked for Local Authority Education Departments in project managing major and minor building projects for school building programmes. I have been a member of U3AC since 2006 and taken part in a wide variety of classes and activities since then. After a few years I became a Council member and the chair of the organisation from 2015 – 2018. I was re elected to the Council in March 2022.

Suzan Griffiths – Joint Director of Studies (Lectures)

I first joined U3AC in 2010, when I left full-time work as St Catharine’s College Librarian, and I was a founder member of the Camsail Group that year. In subsequent years, I undertook various short-term projects and maternity-leave cover in College, Department, and Faculty Libraries, and l let my membership lapse for a while. During lockdown, however, Alastair Breward, the then Director of Studies (Lectures), approached me to become a Zoom Moderator for the Wednesday Lecture Series, and I have shared this role with Nicholas Russell ever since. I also attend a number of U3AC courses.

Nicholas Russell – Joint Director of Studies (Lectures)

I first became aware of the U3AC in 1989 when I was the printer for the U3AC Programme, a booklet of 32 pages, A5 size; compare this to what we have now!  I started as a member of the ‘Walking for Pleasure’ group, and, with others, took over the running of the group. I was a member of Chris Holt’s current affairs group, and, as the demand for such groups increased, found myself chairing a new hybrid current affairs group. I also attend various other U3AC classes. In addition, I have been a regular helper at U3AC’s Open Days, and act as a Zoom Moderator for the Wednesday Lecture Programme.

John Procter – Director of Studies (Courses)

John’s professional career was in teaching, local government and consulting. He has been a member of U3AC for over 10 years, including 6 years as a member of Council. He is currently Director of Studies (Courses). For over six years John was joint organiser of the Polar Studies Group and has presented sessions to the Jazz on a Monday Afternoon course.



Vanessa Connolly

Vanessa is a retired  chartered surveyor and CEO / Company Secretary of a Charity providing services to older people. Vanessa is also a trustee of 2 major grant giving charities. She has been a member of U3AC for 6 years and a trustee for 2 and  she chairs the Risk Audit Group. Vanessa helps  runs a book club and  the Environmental Group.

Ralph Ecclestone

Ralph spent most of his career in technology consultancy, specialising in project management and marketing. He also gained experience as a non-executive director in both private and public-sector organisations. He joined U3AC about five years ago and became a member of Council in 2022.

Ian Hunter

Ian’s background was in Teaching in F.E. Colleges, spending the last ten years as a manger of staff on two sites of an F.E. college in Hertfordshire.
He has been a member of U3AC for about twelve years, and  joined the Council in March 2023.
During his time, as a U3AC member, he has run courses, including Current Affairs Discussion groups, an Economics discussion group and summer school groups in Investing and another one on New Towns .

Rachel Meller

I came to Cambridge in 1974, to do research on hormones and behaviour. I then joined a communication consultancy, writing training materials, mainly for pharmaceutical companies. On retiring in 2015, I joined the U3AC, starting with a course on creative writing. In 2019 I helped run Focus Groups on members’ opinions of U3AC communication channels. My first book (a family memoir) was published in 2023, on which I gave a Wednesday Lecture. I really enjoy U3AC ballet classes, proving it’s never too late to learn something new!

Jeremy Newton

After studying French and German at St John’s College, Cambridge, I trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. I then developed a career in the arts and higher education, serving as National Lottery Director at Arts Council England and Chief Executive of NESTA, and then as Principal & Managing Director at RADA and Vice Principal at Guildhall School of Music & Drama. I have been an active U3AC member for the past 3 years. I have served as a non-executive director with several organisations and, within Cambridge University, was a Teaching Fellow at Judge Business School over a ten year period and am currently a member of the Finance & Investment Board at Lucy Cavendish College.

Mark Sanderson

Mark was a GP in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, for 17 years and has 12 years’ experience as a NHS Medical Director. He was Medical Director for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group until January 2020. He is currently a non-executive director of North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, and a trustee of their charity. He has been a school governor and trained GPs when he was a GP. Mark joined U3AC in September 2022.