The First Female Principal

Staff, students, and alumni were all delighted when Louise Richardson was appointed Principal of St Andrews. She was the first female head of an ancient European university. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, she earned a doctorate at Harvard University. She remained there as a lecturer and was latterly appointed executive dean of the former women’s college, Radcliffe. She first came to public attention when feminist faculty members at Harvard united to force Larry Summers, Obama’s chief economic adviser, to resign from the post of Principal. Since Summers was considered one of the most outstanding administrators in the history of Harvard this was a formidable feather in the cap of feminism if slightly counter productive. Sadly she has brought her reputation of being able to cause a fight in an empty room to St Andrews. She upset many traditionalists by disowning the university’s colourful annual pageant, dating back to Plantagenet times, on the grounds that it is sexist. Richardson has also gone out of her way to antagonize the town’s other famous institution, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. It is unfortunate that she is allowing the issue of her gender to be such a distraction from the more important business of running a prestigious university.

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