Louise Richardson, a prominent academic specialising terrorism and security studies, has taken over as the first woman vice-chancellor in the 900-year history of the University of Oxford on January 1.
Born in Ireland, Richardson taught courses at the University of St Andrews and Harvard on terrorism, international security, and American and comparative foreign policy. She takes over from Andrew Hamilton.
Richardson will be formally admitted to office on 12 January at a ceremony in the Sheldonian Theatre, where she will address Congregation, the University’s parliament.
The chancellor of Oxford University, Chris Patten, said: “We are delighted to welcome professor Richardson to the vice-chancellorship of one of the greatest universities in the world. She has an outstanding reputation on both sides of the Atlantic as a scholar and academic leader”.
Richardson read History at Trinity College, Dublin and holds an MA in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and an MA and PhD in Government from Harvard University.
She 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 (2006).
The new vice-chancellor said her top priority was to maintain Oxford’s position as a world leader for outstanding teaching and research: “We want to ensure Oxford is a magnet for every young person, no matter where they are from, to come here and study. We want every talented, ambitious academic to aim to be at Oxford to teach and to conduct their research.”