Waterford native is first woman to take top job at Oxford

A Waterford woman has become the first female to take the top job at the University of Oxford in England.

Louise Richardson will begin as vice-chancellor in January after serving as principal and vice-chancellor of the University of St Andrews in Scotland since 2009.

Originally from Tramore, she is a history graduate of Trinity College Dublin but has lived and worked in the US where she completed postgraduate and doctoral studies at University of California Los Angeles and Harvard University. She was executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University before moving to her current role at St Andrew’s.

Her career has established her as a leading international scholar of terrorism and security studies, a topic on which she has advised international policy makers.

Ms Richardson said she feels enormously privileged to get the opportunity to lead one of the world’s greatest universities.

“I am very much looking forward to working with talented, experienced and dedicated colleagues to advance Oxford’s pre-eminent global position in research, scholarship and teaching,” she said.

Her appointment to the seven-year post is subject to the approval of the university’s 5,000-member congregation of senior academics, research, library, museum, and administrative staff.

The announcement comes in the same week the Higher Education Authority outlined details of a year-long review aimed at improving women’s representation in senior academic roles in Irish third-level colleges.

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