Oxford University appoints a woman as vice-chancellor for the first time ever

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Oliver Staley

The University of Oxford named Louise Richardson as its new leader.

The University of Oxford named Louise Richardson as its new leader.

The University of Oxford named Louise Richardson as its new leader, making the scholar of terrorism and security studies the first woman to lead the oldest university in the English-speaking world.

Richardson, currently the principal and vice chancellor of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, will succeed Andrew Hamilton on January 1, pending a vote of the Oxford faculty, the English university said today in an e-mailed statement. Hamilton is leaving to become president of New York University.

Richardson would become the 297th vice chancellor of Oxford, a university at least 900 years old, although its exact age is unknown. Before becoming vice chancellor of St. Andrews in 2009, Richardson, a native of Ireland, was the executive dean of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, where she received her doctorate.

"Oxford is one of the world's great universities," Richardson said. "I feel enormously privileged to be given the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution during an exciting time for higher education."

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