Louise Richardson

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Louise Richardson
Louise Richardson.jpg
Louise Richardson in 2008
Vice-Chancellor of
Oxford University
Assumed office
1 January 2016
Principal and Vice-Chancellor of
the University of St Andrews
In office
6 January 2009 – 31 December 2015
Preceded by Brian Lang
Personal details
Born (1958-06-08) 8 June 1958 (age 64)
Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland
Spouse(s) Thomas Jevon; 3 children
Alma mater St Angela's Secondary School, Waterford
Trinity College, Dublin
University of California, Los Angeles
Harvard University
Profession Political scientist
Religion Roman Catholic
Website st-andrews.ac.uk/principal

Louise Mary Richardson, FRSE (born 8 June 1958,[1] Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland) is an Irish political scientist whose specialist field is the study of terrorism. Currently the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford,[2] she was formerly employed at the University of St Andrews where she served as the Principal and Vice Chancellor, and Harvard University where she served as executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.[3][4]

Early life and education

Richardson grew up in Tramore, one of seven children of Arthur and Julie Richardson.[5][6][7] After attending St Angela's Secondary School, Ursuline Convent, Waterford,[7] she studied at Trinity College, Dublin where she obtained a BA degree in History with upper second-class honours in 1980, upgraded to an MA degree in 1982.[6]

In 1977, she received a Rotary Scholarship to study in the USA at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); this forced her take a year out of her course in Ireland, but she has described her time in the US as a "totally liberating experience".[8] She took an MA degree in Political Science from UCLA in 1981, followed by an MA degree in Government in 1984 and PhD degree in Government in 1989 from Harvard University.[6]


From 1981 to 2001 Richardson served as an assistant professor and then an associate professor in the Harvard Government Department, teaching courses on international relations – especially in areas of terrorism, international security and American and comparative foreign policy. 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 served in numerous other 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.[9] She is the first woman, as well as the first Roman Catholic in modern times, to occupy the position.[4] She was appointed Professor of International Relations at St Andrews in November 2010.[10]

On 28 May 2015, Richardson tendered her resignation as Principal of the University of St Andrews to the University Court, effective of 31 December 2015, due to her appointment to the post of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. On the same day, the University of Oxford announced that she had been nominated as the next Vice-Chancellor, subject to approval, to take up the post on 1 January 2016.[5] The nomination was approved on 25 June 2015,[11] thus becoming the University's first female Vice-Chancellor.[3]

Richardson is married to Thomas Jevon and they have three children.

Academic work

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.[12] 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.


In 2009, she received the Trinity College Dublin Alumni Award.[13] In 2010, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh[14] and in 2011, she was appointed to the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers.[15] In 2012, ahead of the centenary in 2014 of the outbreak of World War One, she was appointed to the Scottish Commemorations Panel.[16] Harvard University awarded Professor Richardson The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal[17] in 2013, and later in the year she received an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).[18] In 2015 she received honorary doctorates from the University of Aberdeen[19] and Queen’s University Belfast.[20] She serves on the boards of a number of non-profit groups including the Carnegie Corporation[21] and the EastWest Institute (to October 2015).[22] She has served on the editorial boards of a number of journals and presses and been awarded numerous prizes including the Sumner Prize[23] 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.

Published works

  • 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


  1. "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2014. Dr Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice–Chancellor, University of St Andrews, 53<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Vice-Chancellor | University of Oxford". www.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Adams, Richard. "Oxford vice-chancellor: 'Tackling elitism can be done. I mean, I went to a rural school in Ireland'". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bonner, Raymond (7 March 2009). "In Scotland, New Leadership Crumbles Old Barrier". New York Times. Retrieved 8 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Professor Louise Richardson nominated as next Vice-Chancellor". University of Oxford. Retrieved 2015-06-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Richardson, Prof. Louise Mary", Who's Who 2014, 2014 (A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc); online ed., November 2014 (Oxford University Press, 2014); retrieved 28 May 2015 (requires subscription).
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Honorary Fellow: Dr Louise Richardson". Waterford Institute of Technology; retrieved 28 May 2015.
  8. Kemp, Jackie. "Interview: Louise Richardson: Will auld customs soon be forgot?". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Installation of Principal and Vice-Chancellor". St-andrews.ac.uk. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Profile, st-andrews.ac.uk; accessed 21 August 2015.
  11. "Declaration of approval of the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor". Oxford University Gazette. University of Oxford. 25 June 2015. p. 659. Retrieved 28 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Biography of the University of St Andrews Principal and Vice-Chancellor
  13. "Trinity College Alumni Awards 2009", Trinity College Dublin communications office, November 2009
  14. "Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh", The Royal Society of Edinburgh
  15. "Council of Economic Advisers", Scottish Government, 04 November 2011
  16. "About the Scottish Commemorations Panel | Mun Phannal Cuimhneachain Albannach", Scottish Commemorations Panel
  17. "GSAS Awards 2013 Centennial Medal", Harvard University The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 29 May 2013
  18. "MGIMO bestows honorary doctorate on Professor Louise Richardson", MGIMO University, 12 November 2013
  19. "University of Aberdeen Honorary Graduates - Summer 2015", University of Aberdeen, Summer 2015
  20. "Professor Louise Richardson", Queen's University Belfast
  21. "Trustees and Staff", Carnegie Corporation of New York
  22. "Former board member", EastWest
  23. "Louise Richardson named Radcliffe's executive dean", Harvard University Gazette, 19 July 2001
Academic offices
Preceded by
Andrew Hamilton
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
January 2016–present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Dr Brian Lang
Vice-Chancellor and
Principal of the University of St Andrews

January 2009–December 2015
Succeeded by

External links and further reading