Professor Louise Richardson nominated as next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford

28 May 2015

Professor Louise Richardson, currently the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, has been nominated as the next Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

Professor Richardson has led St Andrews for more than six years, combining strong institutional advancement with a distinguished academic career in the study of terrorism and security issues.

Prior to joining St Andrews in 2009, Professor Richardson lived and worked in the United States where she was Executive Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Professor Richardson said of her nomination: ‘Oxford is one of the world’s great universities. I feel enormously privileged to be given the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution during an exciting time for higher education. I am very much looking forward to working with talented, experienced, and dedicated colleagues to advance Oxford’s pre-eminent global position in research, scholarship, and teaching.’

The Nominating Committee was chaired by the Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten of Barnes, who said: ‘The panel was deeply impressed by Professor Richardson’s strong commitment to the educational and scholarly values which Oxford holds dear. Her distinguished record both as an educational leader and as an outstanding scholar provides an excellent basis for her to lead Oxford in the coming years.’

Subject to the approval of Congregation, the University’s parliament, Professor Richardson will succeed the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton, at the beginning of next year.

Professor Hamilton said: ‘I am delighted by the nomination of Louise Richardson and wish her every success in leading this great university. The role of Vice-Chancellor is both challenging and rewarding and I look forward to making the transition as smooth and straightforward as possible in the coming months.’

Professor Richardson’s leadership of St Andrews has been marked by a strong focus on academic mission, student experience and development of the university’s infrastructure.

The Senior Governor of the University Court of St Andrews, Sir Ewan Brown, said: ‘Louise Richardson has proved a splendid leader of St Andrews, to which she has made an outstanding contribution over the last seven years. I believe her experience here will stand her in good stead in her exciting new role in Oxford and she will leave at the end of this year with our very best wishes.’

Professor Richardson is an internationally renowned scholar of terrorism and security studies, on which she has advised policy makers and others internationally. Her publications include the ground-breaking study: What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy Containing the Threat.

Whilst at Harvard she received several honours for the quality of her teaching, including the Joseph R Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize, bestowed by Harvard’s undergraduate body in recognition of exceptional teaching.

Born in the Republic of Ireland, Professor Richardson holds a BA in History from Trinity College, Dublin, an MA in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MA and PhD in Government from Harvard University.

Louise Richardson is married with three children.

For more information contact the University of Oxford News & Information Office: 01865 280528, [email protected] 

For more information about Professor Richardson, see

For information on the University of St Andrews, see or contact the St Andrews Press Office on 01334 462530, email [email protected]

For a high-res picture of Professor Richardson
go to [credit: University of St Andrews]

Notes to editors:

  • Professor Richardson will be the first female Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.
  • The Vice-Chancellor is the senior officer of the University. The role of the Vice-Chancellor is to provide strategic direction and leadership to the University, and to position and represent the University internationally, nationally, and regionally.
  • The term of office of the Vice-Chancellor is seven years.
  • Congregation, or the ‘parliament of dons’, is the ultimate legislative body of the University. It is made up of around 5,000 senior academic, research, library, museum and administrative staff. For more information on the structure of the University of Oxford, see
  • Professor Richardson was selected by a Nominating Committee chaired by the Chancellor, Lord Patten of Barnes, following adverts in the press plus a worldwide search by headhunters, and a detailed short-listing and interview process. The Nominating Committee then made a recommendation to Council (the University’s principal policy-making body) that Professor Richardson should be appointed as the next Vice-Chancellor. Following Council’s endorsement, the name is put before Congregation for approval. Subject to this approval, Professor Richardson’s appointment as Vice-Chancellor will be formally confirmed, and she will take up the post at the start of 2016.
  • The Nominating Committee is chaired by the Chancellor, Lord Patten, and has thirteen other members: four elected by Congregation, three appointed by Council, four by the Boards of Oxford’s academic Divisions, and two College representatives.
  • Professor Andrew Hamilton continues as Vice-Chancellor for a further 7 months, until the end of 2015.