First woman vice-chancellor of Oxford University ‘flattered’ to be made dame

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Louise Richardson (PA)
Louise Richardson (PA)

The first woman vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford has been made a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Louise Richardson said she was “deeply flattered” by the honour for services to higher education.

Professor Richardson took up her role as vice-chancellor in 2016 and has been instrumental in a number of significant changes across the university.

She launched Oxford University’s new access initiative (PA) (PA Archive)
She launched Oxford University’s new access initiative (PA) (PA Archive)

She launched Oxford University’s new access initiative, ensuring that at least a quarter of its new undergraduate intake in 2023 came from non-traditional, poorer backgrounds, with 23.6% coming from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in 2020.

She also helped to secure the agreement with AstraZeneca to produce and market its Covid-19 vaccine.

As the first woman principal and vice-chancellor of St Andrews University she led it to its highest rankings both within the UK and worldwide.

Prof Richardson said: “I’m deeply flattered for this honour which I am delighted to accept on behalf of the extraordinary colleagues with whom I’ve had the great good fortune to work.

“It is wonderful to see higher education, the essential engine of so many aspects of our economy and society, recognised in this way.”

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Prof Richardson has previously argued that universities need more “ideological diversity”, warning that the “culture wars” and the perception that universities were “bastions of snowflakes” were “deliberately being fanned” by populists and some politicians.

She said that “people are seeing that they haven’t gone to university and yet their taxes are paying for these utterly over-privileged students who want all kinds of protections that they never had and I think we have to take this seriously”.

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