Born in 1958, Louise Richardson grew up in County Waterford, Ireland, one of seven children. She studied at Trinity College, Dublin, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, later promoted to a Master of Arts degree. Louise worked as a waitress and assistant librarian for most of her university life to self-finance her university education.

In 1977, Louise received a Rotary Scholarship to study at UCLA in Los Angeles where she took a MA degree in Political Science and later an MA and PhD in Government from Harvard University. Her commitment to teaching won her both the Levenson Prize and the Abramson Prize during her time at Harvard University.

Professor Richardson’s research specialises in international security with a particular emphasis on terrorist movements. She has written widely on international terrorism, British foreign and defence policy, security institutions, and international relations, and lectured on the subject of terrorism and counter-terrorism to public, professional, media and education groups across the world.

In 2009, she was appointed Principal of the University of St Andrews – the first woman, as well as the first Roman Catholic in modern times, to occupy the position, followed by Professor of International Relations.

In January 2016, Louise Richardson became the first woman Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

“It’s very important to me that I’m a woman in a very senior position and very important to me that I’m a woman from a background that’s very different. I come from a very different world from the one I currently occupy.”