Julian Parker

Presented by Professor Frank Sanderson

Nautical expert Julian Parker retired last summer as secretary of the Nautical Institute, the world's leading professional body in promoting seafaring standards.

He has already received accolades for his outstanding contribution to the development of the Nautical Institute, and we are pleased to offer this fellowship in recognition of the exceptional achievements of one of our esteemed alumni.  

Julian Parker was born in Bolton and moved to The Lake District when he was two years old. He attended school in Cornwall, returning home to Grasmere for the holidays, and went on to naval college at Pangbourne, on the River Thames.

At age 16, having passed out as the Best Merchant Navy Cadet of his year, he joined the Merchant Navy as a midshipman with the Blue Funnel Line in 1958. After gaining his Mates and Masters certificates of competency at our Byrom Street campus, he stayed on to complete a Maritime Studies degree at Liverpool Polytechnic, now Liverpool John Moores University, graduating with honours in 1970. By this time, Julian was married to Christine who is here today.

He has many happy memories of his time at Byrom Street, finding the experience "ecstatic", and crediting the maritime studies degree with providing an excellent background for his subsequent career with the Nautical Institute. He remembers his tutors with affection, including Captain Frank Mayne, Captain Len Holder (who is here today), Dr Mankabadi, Brian Barrass, and Stuart Edmunds (many of the current staff will well remember these former colleagues). Inevitably then, Julian regards this happy occasion as a real homecoming.

After graduation, Julian was appointed administrative staff training officer of Ocean Transport and Trading and later became the Group Training Manager.

In 1972, he was invited to become the Secretary of the newly constituted Nautical Institute. During the past 30 years as Secretary, Julian Parker has been instrumental in developing the Nautical Institute into the world's leading professional body for qualified mariners, with some 7000 members and 40 branches world-wide.

He has been fortunate to travel the world with his job, to countries such as India, Greece and Australia, and has put the Institute on the map. Over this period, he has also been responsible for managing the Institute's publishing arm which now produces a range of publications which are accepted as industry guides. He is the author of a number of titles and academic papers directed towards improving standards at sea. He is chairman of the Board of Experts for the Green award, an organisation which promotes excellence in environmental standards in shipping internationally. 

Following his retirement, he has taken on the responsibility of being co-ordinator for the UK Maritime Professional Forum which aims to link the main professional associations in the pursuit of good professional practice. 

Despite his almost single-handed running of the Nautical Institute, Julian has pursued a life-long interest in fencing. He fenced for the navy against Wales and Ireland, and enjoyed excellent fencing at the Salle on Catherine Street during his time in Liverpool. He has since fenced at county level and more recently has been coaching at Luton Sword Club.

His outstanding contribution to his profession has been acknowledged in many ways: he is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.

And last year, his contribution to the Nautical Institute was recognised at a gala dinner at the former Royal Naval College at Greenwich, where he became the first recipient of the Lloyd's List Special Recognition award.

Tributes were paid to his professionalism, infectious good humour and untiring pursuit of improved mariner safety, and the award was made in front of several hundred industry peers at the Lloyd's List Maritime Excellence Awards for 2003. Earlier this year, he received an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the Maritime Industry.

Julian's father, a textile mill-owner, would have been proud of him but, sadly, died when he was young. His mother, Leonie, certainly feels tremendously proud of her son. "I think he deserves a pat on his back, really very firmly," she said last year.

I think she will agree that the time has come for another very firm pat on the back.

Thus I have pleasure in presenting Julian Parker OBE, this most distinguished person, and alumnus of our institution, for admission to our highest honour of Fellow of this University.