Professor Louise Richardson became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 1 January 2016.
Professor Richardson had served previously for seven years as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. A native of Ireland, she received a BA in History from Trinity College, Dublin, an MA in Political Science from UCLA, and an MA and PhD in Government from Harvard. She was Assistant and Associate Professor in the Harvard Government Department 1989-2001, serving as Head Tutor for several of those years.
Professor Richardson’s commitment to teaching won her both the Levenson Prize and the Abramson Prize during her time at Harvard. She also served as Executive Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard 2001-2008 where she was instrumental in its transformation into an interdisciplinary centre promoting scholarship across academic fields and the creative arts.
A political scientist by training, Professor Richardson has specialised in international security with an emphasis on terrorist movements. She has written widely on international terrorism, British foreign and defence policy, security institutions, and international relations. Her publications include Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past (2007), What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat (2006), The Roots of Terrorism (2006), and When Allies Differ (1996).
Professor Richardson’s work has won numerous awards 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. She has also served on the editorial boards of a number of journals and presses.
Professor Richardson received the Trinity College Dublin Alumni Award in 2009. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2010 and was appointed to the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers the following year. In 2012, ahead of the 2014 centenary 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. She also received an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, MGIMO, later that year. In 2015 she received honorary doctorates from the University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast and became an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy. In 2016 the Vice-Chancellor was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Social Sciences in the United Kingdom. She serves on the boards of a number of non-profit groups including the Carnegie Corporation and the Booker Prize Foundation.