Professor Alison Richard

Honorary graduates 2010-11

Professor Alison Richard (DSc)

Wednesday 14 July 2010, 4:30pm

Professor Alison Richard was installed as the 344th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge on 1 October 2003. The Vice-Chancellor is the principal academic and administrative officer of the University, and Professor Richard is the first woman to hold the position full-time.

An anthropologist with a BA from Cambridge and a doctorate from the University of London, Professor Richard joined the faculty of Yale University in the USA in 1972. She chaired the Department of Anthropology there from 1986 to 1990, and later served as Director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, where she oversaw one of the most important university natural history collections in the USA. She was appointed Provost of Yale (the chief academic and administrative officer of the University after the President) in April 1994. As Provost Professor Richard oversaw major strengthening of Yale’s financial position and significant growth in academic programmes.

At Cambridge from 2003, her focus has been on establishing a generous and robust needs-based bursary scheme, on scaling up multidisciplinary research activity, and developing strong international partnerships. She has also built up Cambridge’s relations with its alumni, who participated in its 800th anniversary last year in great numbers.

As a researcher, Professor Richard is widely known for her work and writings on the evolution of complex social systems among primates. She spends time each year doing fieldwork on lemurs in Madagascar.