On July 26, Richmond University announced the appointment of a new President, Professor Lawrence Abeln. Abeln was chosen by Richmond’s Board of Trustees and will assume the position from current President Professor John Annette, who has held the role for seven years. Abeln is a US citizen who completed his Undergraduate degree in America at the University of Pennsylvania. He continued his education in the United Kingdom, earning a MPhil in International Relations and a PhD in Management from the University of Cambridge. He has previous experience in higher education management at a variety of top-ranked universities including the Massachusetts Institution of Technology (MIT) and Cambridge.
Dr. Abeln, who will begin his tenure this September, said of his new role, “Richmond has a strong tradition as the UK’s leading American University in London with its international orientation, strategic location and heritage in liberal arts education…I look forward to working with our community of students, faculty, staff, alumni and institutional partners to continue to provide an outstanding experience.”
Current President Annette has had a contentious relationship with the student body over the past year, drawing significant upset after announcing the unexpected closing of the Theater and Performance Arts Major. Students from within the major and members of Richmond’s Drama Society protested the University’s decision, criticising Annette’s laissez faire response to their frustration and the whole of the administration for their lack of support for the arts at Richmond.
The appointment of new leadership is another addition to an exciting list of changes for Richmond within the past year, along with the introduction of new scholarships, three-year degree programs, and Taught Degree Awarding Powers, making Richmond the only institution with the ability to award degrees accredited in both the US and UK. Though the past year has been a rocky one for the administration, these adjustments seem to be ushering in a new era for Richmond, just in time for the new school year.