Louise Richardson in 2008
|Vice-Chancellor of University of Oxford|
|Assumed office |
1 January 2016
|Chancellor||The Lord Patten of Barnes|
|Preceded by||Andrew Hamilton|
|Principal and Vice-Chancellor of|
the University of St Andrews
6 January 2009 – 31 December 2015
|Preceded by||Brian Lang|
|Succeeded by||Sally Mapstone|
Louise Mary Richardson
8 June 1958
Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland
Thomas Jevon (m. 1988)
Louise Mary Richardson FRSE (born 8 June 1958) is an Irish political scientist whose specialist field is the study of terrorism. In January 2016 she became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, having formerly served as the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, and as the executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Early life and education
Richardson grew up in Tramore, one of seven children of Arthur and Julie Richardson. After attending St Angela's Secondary School, Ursuline Convent, Waterford, she studied at Trinity College, Dublin, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, promoted in the usual way to a Master of Arts degree in 1982.
In 1977, she received a Rotary Scholarship to study at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She took an MA degree in Political Science from UCLA in 1981, followed by a move to Harvard where she received a Master of Arts degree in Government in 1984 and a PhD in 1989 on International relations and International law, relating specifically the Falklands War and Suez Crisis.
From 1989 to 2001 Richardson served as an assistant professor and then an associate professor in the Harvard Government Department. During this period she also served for eight years as Head Tutor and Chair of the Board of Tutors (Director of Undergraduate Studies) in the Government Department. She was denied tenure and went on to serve in numerous administrative capacities at Harvard University, including the Faculty Council and various committees concerned with undergraduate education, the status of women, and human rights. In July 2001, she was appointed executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Richardson's academic focus has been on international security with an emphasis on terrorist movements. She taught Harvard's large undergraduate lecture course, Terrorist Movements in International Relations, for which she won the Levenson Prize, awarded by the undergraduate student body to the best teachers at the University. This class, along with a number of graduate courses on terrorist movements and European terrorism, were for many years the only courses offered on the subject at Harvard. In addition to the Levenson Prize, Professor Richardson has received teaching awards from the American Political Science Association and Pi Sigma Alpha for outstanding teaching in political science; the Abramson Award in recognition of her ‘excellence and sensitivity in teaching undergraduates’ and many awards from the Bok Center for Teaching Excellence. After her 2001 Radcliffe appointment, she continued to teach, both at Harvard College and Harvard Law School.
In 2009, Richardson was appointed Principal of the University of St Andrews, succeeding Brian Lang. Her installation took place on 25 March 2009. She is the first woman, as well as the first Roman Catholic in modern times, to occupy the position. She was appointed Professor of International Relations at St Andrews in November 2010.
On 28 May 2015, the University of Oxford announced that Professor Richardson had been nominated as the next Vice-Chancellor, subject to approval, to take up the post on 1 January 2016. The nomination was approved on 25 June 2015, and Richardson became Vice-Chancellor in January 2016. She is also an Honorary Fellow at Kellogg College, Oxford.
In September 2017, Richardson attracted some criticism from students, academics, politicians, and the British press for remarks made in defence of academic freedom that were interpreted by critics as a defence of academics holding anti-gay views towards students.
In October 2017, Richardson claimed that Oxford University was in need of reform, stating that the current system gives rise to "a waste of resources" and a "duplication of bureaucracy". She joins past Vice Chancellors such as John Hood in attempting to centralise the Oxford college system, although she also supports college autonomy. At her annual Oration, she stated, "We all know that change occurs slowly at Oxford…but the world is changing rapidly around us, and I believe that if we stand still we will enter a period of slow but definite decline." 
In late February 2018, the University of Oxford’s support for cuts to the national lecturers’ pension scheme triggered a 14-day strike. A resolution to revert the decision was spearheaded by six Oxford academics, including Dr. Karma Nabulsi and Prof. Robert Gildea. On Tuesday, 6. March 2018, Richardson used a technicality to upend a debate on the plans. At a meeting of Congregation, the governing body of Oxford, 20 members and supporters of Richardson stood up as the resolution was introduced, thereby blocking the debate. Academics then held an unofficial vote outside, which delivered a result of 442 for and 2 against. Richardson herself stated that she had been absent at the event due to having “scheduled a trip to New York”. An initial offer on her part for a non-binding “town hall discussion” as a replacement for the debate was rejected.
The following day, Richardson sent out an email to staff in which she stated that "In the light of the depth of feeling of so many colleagues, we will convene a special meeting of council today at noon” at which it would be recommended that the university’s council “reverse its response to the UUK survey in line with the congregation’s resolution”.
Richardson is the author of What Terrorists Want, an account of terrorism written after the September 11 attacks. Other publications include When Allies Differ: Anglo-American Relations in the Suez and Falkland Crises, The Roots of Terrorism (ed) and Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past (co-edited with Robert Art). She has also published many journal articles, book chapters, and reviews on the subject of terrorism.
Between 2001 and 2008, in addition to her teaching and management roles, Richardson gave over 300 talks and lectures on terrorism and counter-terrorism to educational and private groups as well as policy makers, the military, intelligence, and business communities. She has testified before the United States Senate and has appeared on CNN, the BBC, PBS, NPR, Fox and a host of other broadcast outlets. Her work has been featured in numerous international periodicals.
- What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat (2006)
- The Roots of Terrorism, Routledge, New York (2006) ed
- When Allies Differ: Anglo-American Relations in the Suez and Falkland Crises (1996)
- Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past, United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC (2007) ed with Robert Art
Awards and honours
In 2009 she received the Trinity College Dublin Alumni Award. In 2010 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), and in 2011 she was appointed to the Scottish Government's Council of Economic Advisers. In 2012, ahead of the centenary in 2014 of the outbreak of World War One, she was appointed to the Scottish Commemorations Panel. Harvard University awarded Professor Richardson The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal in 2013, and later in the year she received an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). In 2015 Professor Richardson received honorary doctorates from the University of Aberdeen and Queen's University Belfast. and was named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy. In 2016 Professor Richardson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, named a fellow of the National Academy of Social Sciences, and awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of St Andrews; she also received the inaugural Emily Winifred Dickson award from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, which recognises women who have made an outstanding contribution to their field.
She serves on the boards of a number of non-profit groups including the Central European University, the Carnegie Corporation and the EastWest Institute (to October 2015). She has served on the editorial boards of a number of journals and presses and been awarded numerous prizes including the Sumner Prize for work towards the prevention of war and the establishment of universal peace. She has lectured on the subject of terrorism and counter-terrorism to public, professional, media and education groups across the world.
Richardson married Thomas Jevon in 1988 and has three children.
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Dr Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice–Chancellor, University of St Andrews, 53
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| Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
Dr Brian Lang
| Vice-Chancellor and
Principal of the University of St Andrews
January 2009–December 2015
Professor Sally Mapstone