The first woman vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford has been made a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Louise Richardson said she was “deeply flattered” by the honour for services to higher education.

Professor Richardson took up her role as vice-chancellor in 2016 and has been instrumental in a number of significant changes across the university.

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She launched Oxford University’s new access initiative, ensuring that at least a quarter of its new undergraduate intake in 2023 came from non-traditional, poorer backgrounds, with 23.6 per cent coming from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in 2020.

She also helped to secure the agreement with AstraZeneca to produce and market its Covid-19 vaccine.

Prof Richardson said: “I’m deeply flattered for this honour which I am delighted to accept on behalf of the extraordinary colleagues with whom I’ve had the great good fortune to work.”

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Prof Richardson has previously argued that universities need more “ideological diversity”, warning that the “culture wars” and the perception that universities were “bastions of snowflakes” were “deliberately being fanned” by populists and some politicians.

She said that “people are seeing that they haven’t gone to university and yet their taxes are paying for these utterly over-privileged students who want all kinds of protections that they never had and I think we have to take this seriously”.

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This story was written by Rebecca Whittaker, she joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Rebecca covers education and news in Abingdon and Wantage.

Get in touch with her by emailing: or calling 07824524333

Follow her on Twitter @RebecWhitt

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