Carnegie Corporation of New York Appoints Louise Richardson as President

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Carnegie Corporation of New York Appoints Louise Richardson as President

Carnegie Corporation of New York has named its 13th president, announcing today that Louise Richardson will join the foundation in January 2023 at the end of her seven-year term as head of the University of Oxford in England. Richardson, an expert on international terrorism, has served as a member of the Corporation’s board of trustees since 2013. As its new president, she will oversee one of the leading philanthropic foundations in the United States, founded by Scottish immigrant and American industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1911.

Richardson, a native of Ireland, came to this country as an immigrant, as did her predecessor, Vartan Gregorian, who was president of the Corporation from 1997 until his death in April 2021. Richardson has lived a life full of firsts, including being the first in her family to attend university. She is the first woman to lead Oxford as vice-chancellor (2016–present), the first to serve as principal and vice-chancellor of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland (2009–2015), and she will soon become the first woman to serve as president of the Corporation.

“Louise Richardson is an outstanding public intellectual and an academic of great distinction, and we are honored to have her join us as president of the Corporation,” said Governor Thomas H. Kean, chairman of the Corporation’s board of trustees, former chair of the 9/11 Commission, and former governor of New Jersey. “In addition to her many professional accomplishments, Louise possesses the personal attributes we consider most important for the position: integrity, leadership, international breadth, and a proven dedication to our work in democracy, education, and international peace and security. We could not ask for a better steward of the Corporation.”

During her tenure at Oxford, Richardson has launched several innovative access initiatives and significantly increased the socioeconomic and ethnic diversity of the undergraduate student body. She has secured unprecedented partnerships and funding by working with philanthropic, corporate, and government sources, allowing the university to pursue a range of improvements, including expanded research in the humanities and natural sciences, a new graduate college, a major science park, and housing for students and staff. Throughout the pandemic, her stewardship of the university and its 44 constituent colleges and halls has been widely admired. In 2020, in the depths of a global crisis, Richardson negotiated a landmark partnership with AstraZeneca to develop, manufacture, and distribute the Oxford coronavirus vaccine ChadOX at the cost of production to nations around the world.

“Louise Richardson is among the most entrepreneurial leaders in higher education today, with a track record of addressing major global challenges as well as taking a principled stand on many of the most important issues facing our society, including student access to higher education, free speech, and ideological diversity on campuses,” said trustee Anne M. Tatlock, retired chair and chief executive officer of Fiduciary Trust International, who chaired the board’s search committee. “The search committee was greatly impressed by the caliber of the candidates for this position. With unanimous support for Louise, the board is thrilled with her decision to join the Corporation as president and is grateful for the promise that her leadership represents."

“I am deeply honored and absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to succeed the beloved and legendary Vartan Gregorian, from whom I have learned so much. Ever since joining the Corporation’s board of trustees, I have been both impressed and moved by the strength of the board, the talent and dedication of the staff, and the extraordinary work of our remarkable grantees,” said Richardson. “We live in fragile times such that an unwavering commitment to the power of education to transform lives, to the need to strengthen democracy, and to the advancement of international peace has never been more important. I am looking forward to working with the board, the staff, and all of our many friends and supporters to ensure that we deploy our resources as effectively as possible to advance the mission laid out by Andrew Carnegie over a hundred years ago."

For more than 30 years, Richardson has written about international terrorism and foreign policy, making a case for interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the political roots of extremism in contrast to traditional responses that focused on military interventions. At Oxford, she is known for her dauntless leadership in defending freedom of speech and in launching a sustainability strategy and a task force to advance racial equality. At St. Andrews, she recruited large numbers of American students as well as Scottish students from disadvantaged backgrounds. She worked to expand the university’s offerings, including funding for a new library, a music center, and a medical school, as well as land for a new campus, contributing to the institution’s highest-ever national and global rankings.

“The Corporation will benefit immensely from Louise Richardson’s depth of leadership experience and her international standing as an expert on higher education and terrorism. As a trustee, she offers continuity and a demonstrated commitment to the foundation’s mission,” said Janet L. Robinson, vice chairman of the Corporation’s board of trustees and retired president and chief executive officer of the New York Times Company. “Louise was one of seven children, who grew up to become a brilliant trailblazer for young women and for all who seek to fight for change. We are confident that she will help the Corporation meet its full potential as a grantmaker that aims to improve the world through greater knowledge and understanding.”

Richardson was born and raised in Ireland and earned a degree in history from Trinity College Dublin. She first came to the United States on a scholarship from Rotary International. She earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles, followed by an MA and PhD in government from Harvard University.

Richardson spent 20 years as a professor at Harvard, where her teaching on terrorism and political science was honored with the Levenson Prize and the Abramson Prize. In 2001, Richardson became the executive dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, where she was instrumental in shaping the center into an interdisciplinary hub for scholarship across academic fields, an approach that has become her trademark.

Richardson’s publications include Democracy and Counterterrorism: Lessons from the Past (2007), What Terrorists Want: Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat (2006), The Roots of Terrorism (2006), and When Allies Differ: Anglo-American Relations During the Suez and Falklands Crises (1996). On the subject of terrorism, she has participated in numerous media interviews, delivered hundreds of talks, and written extensively for news publications, books, and academic journals. Richardson’s research has been recognized with awards such as Harvard’s Sumner Prize for work toward the prevention of war and the establishment of universal peace and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Centennial Medal for vision and leadership. She also holds nine honorary doctorates from universities ranging from Notre Dame in the U.S. and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Russia to the University of the West Indies.

Richardson serves as a trustee on several nonprofit boards, including the Booker Prize Foundation and the Sutton Trust. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Academy of Social Sciences in the United Kingdom, among other learned societies. She is married to Thomas Jevon, a physician based in Massachusetts. They have three adult children.

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