Irish woman appointed first female principal of St Andrews University

A WATERFORD woman, who once claimed an interest in joining the IRA, has become the first female principal and vice-chancellor of a Scottish “ancient” university.

Dr Louise Richardson, who is executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, takes up her new post next January.

The 50-year-old from Tramore is regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities on the study of terrorism and political violence.

After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from Trinity College, Dr Richardson joined Harvard in 1981 as a student and earned her MA and PhD in government. She went on to serve Harvard for 13 years as an assistant professor and associate professor of government and for eight years as chair of the board of tutors and as head tutor in the department of government.

Currently, she serves as a lecturer at Harvard Law School and a senior lecturer in government in the faculty of arts and sciences.

She has written a number of books on terrorism, most notably the critically acclaimed What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat.

She has authored numerous articles about international terrorism, British foreign and defence policy, security institutions and international relations.

Ironically, she considered terrorism herself as a 14-year-old.

She wrote that she was so reviled by the events of Bloody Sunday that she would have joined the IRA.

Ewan Brown, senior governor of the court of the University of St Andrews said: “Louise is a very highly regarded academic leader and scholar who has been courted by some of the world’s leading universities.

“We are delighted that she has chosen to accept the challenge of leading Scotland’s first university into a seventh century of academic achievement.”

Ms Richardson said she was “delighted and deeply honoured”.


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