Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of University of Oxford, receives Inaugural Emily Winifred Dickson award from RCSI

23 September 2016

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of University of Oxford, has been awarded the inaugural Emily Winifred Dickson award by RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) at a special ceremony that took place in the College on St Stephen's Green in Dublin.

The award, which recognises women who have made an outstanding contribution to their field, has been established in honour of Emily Winifred Dickson (FRCSI) who broke boundaries when she became the first female Fellow of RCSI in 1893, which made her the first female Fellow of any of the surgical royal colleges in Britain and Ireland.

Professor Cathal Kelly (FRCSI), Chief Executive/ Registrar, RCSI, speaking at the ceremony said: "On the occasion of the 150th year anniversary of her birth, RCSI has established the Emily Winifred Dickson Award in honour of the achievements of this pioneering woman."

"Professor Louise Richardson certainly falls into the category of a pioneering and an inspirational figure in the field of education, becoming the first female Principal of the University of St Andrews in 2009, followed by her appointment as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 1st January 2016. RCSI is truly honoured to present this inaugural award to Professor Richardson, who, as an outstanding educational leader, is a most worthy recipient of the accolade," concluded Professor Kelly. 

Professor Richardson, who delivered a lecture, entitled ‘Education in the 21st Century', at the event stated: "It is an honour to have been chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Emily Dickson Award. The RCSI's stated mission ‘to educate, nurture and discover for the benefit of human health' is a powerful reminder of the important role that it plays in society today. I am so proud to be associated with the institution."

The award which was presented to the first recipient, Professor Louise Richardson, is a special commissioned piece by Imogen Stuart, RHA, one of Ireland's foremost sculptors.

In 2000, Imogen Stuart was elected Professor of Sculpture by the RHA. Her work is represented in churches and public places throughout Ireland, as well as The Irish Cultural Centre in Paris. Her work also includes a bust of Mary Robinson in Aras an Uachtarain. She was elected Saoi of Aosdana by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins on 15th September 2015.

RCSI is ranked in the top 250 institutions worldwide and joint 1st place in the Republic of Ireland in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2016-2017). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.

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More information on Professor Richardson and Emily Winifred Dickson

  • Professor Richardson became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford on 1 January 2016, having served previously for seven years as Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews, Scotland. A native of Tramore, Waterford, Ireland, she received a BA in History from Trinity College, Dublin, an MA in Political Science from UCLA, and an MA and PhD in Government from Harvard.
  • Professor Richardson was awarded both the Levenson Prize and the Abramson Prize for her commitment to teaching. She served as Executive Dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard 2001 - 2008 where she was instrumental in its transformation into an interdisciplinary centre promoting scholarship across academic fields and the creative arts.
  • Emily Winifred Dickson was not only a Fellow of RCSI, trailblazing first for a female surgeon; she was a working mother, a published scientist and a keen promoter of women's rights. Although she experienced prejudice and discrimination in her chosen career, she received considerable support from several of the hierarchy of the Irish medical profession. She continued that spirit and was supportive of young women, particularly female medical students, throughout her career.