Louise Richardson is to step down from her position as principal and vice-chancellor of the University of St Andrews.
Professor Richardson has been offered, and has accepted the position of vice-chancellor of Oxford University. The appointment will take effect from 1 January 2016.
Professor Richardson will become the 297th vice-chancellor in the institution’s history. She will also be the first woman to hold the position.
In an email circulated to members of the University Court, staff and students, Sir Ewan Brown CBE, senior governor of the University said:
“This will be a huge loss to St Andrews but a marvelous move for Louise into one of the pre-eminent academic roles in the UK and beyond – and I am sure you will all want to join me in offering her your warmest congratulations and best wishes.”
The chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Sir Menzies Campbell, said: “The appointment of Louise Richardson is a proper recognition of her enormous contribution to higher education in the United Kingdom and particularly at St Andrews.
“I have no doubt that she will fulfill the duties and responsibilities of vice-chancellor at Oxford University with commitment, dedication and professionalism.
“She goes with our blessing, our thanks and our congratulations.”
The rector of the University, Catherine Stihler MEP, commented on the announcement through a post on Facebook, saying that:
“Though this is a loss for everyone that calls St Andrews home, Principal Richardson is sure to excel there just as much as she has in St Andrews. It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside her during my time as Rector, and to see firsthand the good she has done for our university.”
The chancellor of the University of Oxford, Lord Patten of Barnes confirmed Professor Richardson’s nomination for the position and said:
“The panel was deeply impressed by Professor Richardson’s strong commitment to the educational and scholarly values which Oxford holds dear. Her distinguished record both as an educational leader and as an outstanding scholar provides an excellent basis for her to lead Oxford in the coming years.”
In an email to staff and students of the University, Professor Richardson also expressed her “mixed emotions” at leaving her position.
“There will be plenty of time for reminiscences and farewells over the seven months ahead but for now I would just like to say that my years as Principal of this extraordinary university have been the most rewarding and enjoyable of my professional life. I will always feel enormously privileged to have had the opportunity to be a part of this magical place.” She said.
“I also want to reassure you that I will remain fully committed to the university until my departure and will work to ensure a smooth transition to my successor.” She continued
At its meeting on June 19, the University Court will commence the process to find her successor.
Professor Richardson has held her position as principal since January 2009 and presided over much of the celebrations of the University’s 600th anniversary.