Dame Alison Richard, DBE, DL
|Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge|
|Preceded by||Alec Broers|
|Succeeded by||Leszek Borysiewicz|
1 March 1948 |
Bromley, Kent, England
|Spouse(s)||Robert E. Dewar|
|Children||Charlotte Dewar and Bessie Dewar|
|Residence||Middle Haddam, Connecticut, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Newnham College, Cambridge
King's College London
Dame Alison Fettes Richard, DBE, DL (born 1 March 1948 in Kent, England) is an anthropologist, conservationist and university administrator. She was the 344th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, the first female Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge since the post became full-time.
Alison Richard attended the Queenswood School and was an undergraduate in Anthropology at Newnham College, Cambridge, before gaining a PhD from King's College London in 1973 with a thesis titled Social organization and ecology of propithecus verreaux grandidier.
Research and teaching
In 1972, she moved to Yale University where she taught and continued her research on the ecology and social behavior of wild primates in Central America, West Africa, the Himalayan foothills of Pakistan, and the southern forests of Madagascar. She was named Professor of Anthropology in 1986 and chaired the Department of Anthropology at Yale from 1986 to 1990. From 1991 to 1994 she was the Director of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History, which houses one of the world’s most important university natural history collections. In 1998 she was named the Franklin Muzzy Crosby Professor of the Human Environment.
Richard is best known for her studies of the sifaka, Propithecus verreauxi, a lemur of southern and western Madagascar. With collaborators and students, she led a program of field observation, capture and release, anatomical measurement, and genetic and hormone sampling, of more than 700 individually known sifaka from 1984 to the present; this is one of the largest primate populations continuously observed for such a long period. The research has yielded valuable insights into sifaka life-histories, demography, social behavior, and genetics. These, in turn, expand the understanding of the variation in the lives and biology of the members of the primate order.
From 1994 until 2002, she was Provost of Yale University with operational responsibility for the University’s financial and academic programs and planning. From 2003 to 2010, Richard was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, a position carrying the responsibilities of university president. During her tenure, she led several major changes in university policy, ranging from intellectual property to undergraduate financial aid, re-organized management of the University’s endowment, and expanded Cambridge’s global partnerships, most notably in the US, China, India, Singapore, and the Persian Gulf. She launched and completed a billion-pound fund-raising campaign, the largest ever for a UK university.
In the 1970s, in collaboration with RW Sussman (Washington University) and G Ramanantsoa (University of Madagascar), she helped establish a nature reserve at Beza-Mahafaly, southwest Madagascar, which was formally incorporated into the Madagascar Nature Reserve system in 1986. For over thirty years, she has worked with colleagues to help conserve the reserve’s unique natural heritage, sponsor training and research by students from Madagascar and elsewhere, and to enhance socio-economic opportunities for people living in and around the forest. Over the years, these conservation efforts have been funded by the Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation, WWF, the Schwartz Foundation, and USAID.
Richard in currently a member of the Boards of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and of WWF International. She serves as an advisor to the Liz Claiborne/Art Ortenberg Foundation, the Arcadia Foundation, and to the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.
Richard was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. In 2005, she was appointed Officier de l’Ordre National in Madagascar. She has received honorary doctorates from universities in the UK (Edinburgh, Queens University Belfast, Anglia Ruskin, Exeter, Cambridge), China (Peking, Chinese University of Hong Kong), Madagascar (University of Antananarivo), Canada (York), Korea (Ewha Women’s University) and the US (Yale), and in 2011 she was made a Fellow of King’s College, London. She was awarded the Green Globe Award of the Rainforest Alliance (1998), and the Verrill Medal, Yale University (2008). She was made Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Cambridgeshire in 2004. She is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish, Newnham and Wolfson Colleges, University of Cambridge.
She is a member of the Athenaeum Club.
- Provost Alison Richard nominated as Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor 31 (13). Yale Bulletin & Calendar. 2002-12-06. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
- "New Vice-Chancellor for Cambridge". University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 3 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
- "Cambridge comes calling with ‘happening’ card". The Telegraph. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
- "Social organization and ecology of propithecus verreaux grandidier". King's College London Library Catalogue. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- "Alison F. Richard biography". Yale University. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Alison Richard: The quiet revolutionary". The Guardian newspaper. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Cambridge University anniversary campaign tops £1bn". BBC News. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- Peter M. Kappeler, David P. Watts (2012): Long-term Field Studies of Primates. Springer.
- "In Madagascar". The Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- "Trustees". Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- "Prof. Alison Richard". WWF. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- The London Gazette: . 12 June 2010.
- "Royal aides chosen". Cambridge News. 16 November 2004. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
- Vice-Chancellor's Office, University of Cambridge
- Interview of Alison Richard by Alan Macfarlane 21 August 2008 (film)
Sir Alec Broers
|Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge