Yale University Department of Anthropology

  Department of Anthropologyredirect.html
    Yale Universityhttp://www.yale.edu

Three part interview with Alison Richard.

Alison F. Richard

Professor Emeritus of Anthropology

Franklin Muzzy Crosby Professor of the Human Environment

Former Provost of Yale University

Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Cambridge, UK

Ph.D. University of London, 1972


Office address:
10 Sachem Street, Room 310
Tel: (203) 432-3691
Fax: (203) 432-3669

Beza Mahafaly Website

(original link from University of Cambridge website) Professor Dame 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 Dame Alison is the first woman to hold the position full-time.

Tenure at Cambridge

Early in her tenure, Cambridge led the way nationally in establishing needs-based bursaries to ensure that undergraduate students and applicants were not disadvantaged by the national introduction of higher university tuition fees.

Dame Alison has supported major teaching and research initiatives across the landscape of academic disciplines, and has placed particular importance on large-scale interdisciplinary activity putting fundamental science and scholarship at the service of society.

Another characteristic of her term of office has been the great development of the role of alumni as advisers and ambassadors for Cambridge. As part of this engagement, alumni have contributed impressively to the 800 th Anniversary Campaign - the first UK university fundraising campaign to seek £1 billion in donations, and the first Campaign in Cambridge to draw together the University and its 31 Colleges.

The priority of developing alumni relations has also been woven into Professor Richard’s extensive international travels in support of Cambridge’s growing international activity.

On her watch, Cambridge has established an Investment Office, and re-organised the management of the endowment, to enable endowment income to contribute effectively to a healthy mix of income sources.


An anthropologist with a first degree from the University of Cambridge and a doctorate from the University of London, Professor Richard joined the faculty of Yale University in the USA in 1972. She was appointed full professor in 1986, chairing the Department of Anthropology at Yale from 1986 to 1990, and later serving 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 to the Franklin Muzzy Crosby chair of the Human Environment in 1998. Her academic leadership at Yale culminated in her appointment as Provost of Yale in April 1994. The Provost is the chief academic and administrative officer of the University after the President, and as Provost Professor Richard oversaw major strengthening of Yale's financial position and significant growth in academic programmes.

As a researcher, Professor Richard is widely known for her work and writings on the evolution of complex social systems among primates. This work has taken her to Central America, Northern Pakistan and in particular Madagascar.


Professor Richard was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE) by HM The Queen in The Queen's Birthday Honours list 2010. She was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society in 2009. She holds Honorary Degrees from Peking University, China (2004), the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar (2005), York University, Toronto (2006), the University of Edinburgh (2006), Queen’s University Belfast (2008), Anglia Ruskin University (2008), Yale University (2009), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2009), and Ewha Womans University, Korea (2009). In 2005 she was appointed Officier de l’Ordre National ( Madagascar). She is an Academician of the UK’s Academy of Social Sciences, and has been appointed by the Prime Minister as a member of the National Council for Educational Excellence, and as a UK Business Ambassador.