Professor Louise Richardson became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 1 January 2016, having 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 and served as Head Tutor for several of those years. She was awarded both the Levenson Prize and the Abramson Prize for her commitment to teaching. She 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. 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). She has written numerous articles on international terrorism, British foreign and defence policy, security institutions, and international relations. 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.
In 2009, she received the Trinity College Dublin Alumni Award. In 2010, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 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 she received honorary doctorates from the University of Aberdeen and Queen’s University Belfast, and became an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy. She serves on the boards of a number of non-profit groups including the Carnegie Corporation and the Booker Prize Foundation. In 2016 Professor Richardson was elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in the United Kingdom, and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.