Former Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University
WWF International Board
Professor Dame Alison Richard received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Cambridge University, and her doctorate from London University. In 1972, she moved to the US to join Yale University, where she became Professor of Anthropology in 1986. From 1991-1994, she was Director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, which houses one of the world’s most important university natural history collections. In 1998 she was named the Franklin Muzzy Crosby Professor of the Human Environment. From 1994-2002, she served as Provost of Yale, with operational responsibility for the University’s financial and academic programs and planning.
From 2003-2010, Professor Richard was Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, a position carrying the responsibilities of university president. During her tenure, she led several major changes in university policy, ranging from intellectual property to undergraduate financial aid, reorganized management of the University’s endowment, expanded Cambridge’s global partnerships, most notably in the US, China, India, Singapore and the Persian Gulf, and launched and completed a billion pound fund-raising campaign. Her achievements received recognition in 2010, when she was awarded a DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire) for her services to Higher Education.
An eminent researcher, Professor Richard has studied the ecology and social behaviour of wild primates in Central America, West Africa, and the Himalayan foothills. She is best known for her work on lemurs in the forests of southern Madagascar. For over thirty years, she has worked to help conserve Madagascar’s unique natural heritage and enhance socio-economic opportunities for people living in and around the forest. She is a member of the Boards of WWF-International, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and she serves as an advisor to the Liz Claiborne/Art Ortenberg Foundation, and to Arcadia. She has received numerous honorary doctorates, and in 2005 she was appointed Officier de l’Ordre National in Madagascar.Alison Richard