Louise Richardson

Louise Richardson

Louise Richardson in 2008
Vice-Chancellor of
University of Oxford
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
Succeeded by Sally Mapstone
Personal details
Born Louise Mary Richardson
(1958-06-08) 8 June 1958
Tramore, County Waterford, Ireland
Spouse(s) Thomas Jevon (m. 1988)[1]
Children 3
Alma mater
Profession Political scientist
Religion Roman Catholic
Website ox.ac.uk/about/organisation/university-officers/vice-chancellor

Scientific career

Thesis Managing allies and being managed by alliances : Suez and the Falklands (1988)

Louise Mary Richardson, FRSE (born 8 June 1958[1][4]) is an Irish political scientist whose specialist field is the study of terrorism.[5] As of 2016 she is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford [6] having formerly served as the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, and as the executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.[7][8]

Early life and education

Richardson grew up in Tramore, one of seven children of Arthur and Julie Richardson.[1][9][10] After attending St Angela's Secondary School, Ursuline Convent, Waterford,[10] she studied at Trinity College, Dublin where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and an Master of Arts degree in 1982.[1]

In 1977, she received a Rotary Scholarship to study at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She took an MA degree in Political Science from UCLA in 1981, followed by a move to Harvard where she received an Master of Arts degree in Government in 1984 and a PhD in 1989 on International relations and International law, relating specifically the Falklands War and Suez Crisis.[1][3]


From 1989 to 2001 Richardson served as an assistant professor and then an associate professor in the Harvard Government Department.[11] 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.[12] She is the first woman, as well as the first Roman Catholic in modern times, to occupy the position.[8] She was appointed Professor of International Relations at St Andrews in November 2010.[13]

On 28 May 2015, the University of Oxford announced that Professor Richardson had been nominated as the next Vice-Chancellor, subject to approval, to take up the post on 1 January 2016.[9] The nomination was approved on 25 June 2015,[14] and Richardson became Vice-Chancellor in January 2016.[7]


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.[15] 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.

Published works

Awards and honours

In 2009, she received the Trinity College Dublin Alumni Award.[16] In 2010, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE)[2] and in 2011, she was appointed to the Scottish Government's Council of Economic Advisers.[17] In 2012, ahead of the centenary in 2014 of the outbreak of World War One, she was appointed to the Scottish Commemorations Panel[18] Harvard University awarded Professor Richardson The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal[19] in 2013, and later in the year she received an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).[20] In 2015 Professor Richardson received honorary doctorates from the University of Aberdeen[21] and Queen's University Belfast.[22] and was named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy. In 2016 Professor Richardson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[23] named a fellow of the National Academy of Social Sciences,[24] and awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of St Andrews.[25]

She serves on the boards of a number of non-profit groups including the Carnegie Corporation[26] and the EastWest Institute (to October 2015).[27] She has served on the editorial boards of a number of journals and presses and been awarded numerous prizes including the Sumner Prize[28] 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.

Personal life

Richardson married Thomas Jevon in 1988 and has three children.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 RICHARDSON, Prof. Louise Mary. Who's Who. 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription required)
  2. 1 2 Anon (2010). "Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh" (PDF). royalsoced.org.uk. Edinburgh: Royal Society of Edinburgh.
  3. 1 2 Richardson, Louise Mary (1988). Managing allies and being managed by alliances : Suez and the Falklands (PhD thesis). Harvard University. OCLC 23368823.
  4. "Birthday's today". The Telegraph. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2014. Dr Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice–Chancellor, University of St Andrews, 53
  5. UCBerkeleyEvents, Conversations with History Video on What Terrorists Want on YouTube
  6. "Vice-Chancellor | University of Oxford". www.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-04.
  7. 1 2 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.
  8. 1 2 Bonner, Raymond (7 March 2009). "In Scotland, New Leadership Crumbles Old Barrier". New York Times. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  9. 1 2 "Professor Louise Richardson nominated as next Vice-Chancellor". University of Oxford. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  10. 1 2 "Honorary Fellow: Dr Louise Richardson". Waterford Institute of Technology; retrieved 28 May 2015.
  11. "Vice-Chancellor | University of Oxford". Ox.ac.uk. 2016-01-01. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  12. "Installation of Principal and Vice-Chancellor". St-andrews.ac.uk. 25 March 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 15, 2015. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  14. "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.
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  16. "Trinity College Alumni Awards 2009", Trinity College Dublin communications office, November 2009
  17. "Council of Economic Advisers", Scottish Government, 04 November 2011
  18. "About the Scottish Commemorations Panel | Mun Phannal Cuimhneachain Albannach", Scottish Commemorations Panel
  19. "GSAS Awards 2013 Centennial Medal - The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences". Gsas.harvard.edu. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  20. "MGIMO bestows Honorary Doctorate on Professor Louise Richardson". English.mgimo.ru. 2013-11-12. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  21. "University of Aberdeen Honorary Graduates - Summer 2015", University of Aberdeen, Summer 2015
  22. "Queen's University Belfast | Graduation 2016 | Professor Louise Richardson and Rona Fairhead CBE". Qub.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  23. "Vice-Chancellor elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences | University of Oxford". Ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  24. "Three Oxford academics are new Fellows of Academy of Social Sciences | University of Oxford". Ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  25. "Laureation Address: Professor Louise Richardson". University of St Andrews. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  26. "Trustees and Staff", Carnegie Corporation of New York
  27. "Louise Richardson | EastWest Institute". Eastwest.ngo. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  28. "Harvard Gazette: Louise Richardson named Radcliffe's executive dean". News.harvard.edu. 2001-07-19. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Andrew Hamilton
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
January 2016present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Dr Brian Lang
Vice-Chancellor and
Principal of the University of St Andrews

January 2009December 2015
Succeeded by
Professor Sally Mapstone
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