Aurora thanks former Vice-Chancellor of UEA, Professor David Richardson

17 March 2023

The Aurora community would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to one of the founding fathers of the Aurora Network, Professor David Richardson. Professor Richardson has been a pillar of the Aurora community and has played a vital role in the development of the Aurora Universities Network since its creation in 2016. Although he stepped down two weeks ago as Vice-Chancellor of the University of East Anglia, and therefore no longer represents his institution as a Board member of Aurora, his legacy and impact on Aurora remains strong beyond his tenure.

Professor Richardson has an impressive Aurora record of service. The University of East Anglia (UEA), under Professor Richardson’s leadership, was one of the founding institutional members of the network. He was also the Chair of the Aurora Board for four years from 2016-2020, and was recently re-elected again in 2022, serving as Board Treasurer. His belief in the added value of Aurora never wavered, including during the challenging period leading up to Brexit and the resulting changes this meant for higher education in the UK in the area of international cooperation and mobility. Despite these challenges, UEA remains committed  to the Aurora Alliance as an Associate Partner in the new funding bid for the Erasmus+ European Universities Initiative.

“It has been a pleasure to work with David Richardson ever since we first started discussing establishing a new university network in 2016,” Aurora President Jón Atli Benediktsson states. “The Aurora Network thrived under his leadership and dedication. David was a strong supporter of Aurora expanding and applying to become one of the European University Alliances as he recognized the tremendous opportunities this would provide for our students, staff, and wider community.

David is a great friend and working with him has been a privilege. We very much appreciate his contribution to Aurora.”

Mirjam van Praag, President of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, said:

“As one of the founding fathers of Aurora, David is a long-time and dear friend to us. He excelled in keeping us all on track, from the start of the Network through the phase of forming the Alliance. With him on board, the road ahead was suddenly clear for everyone, redirecting us to more productive alleys whenever we went astray, looking at issues from a new angle, and all of that he seemed to do effortlessly.”

As the Aurora community, comprised of ten research-intensive universities, continues to strengthen our international cooperative partnership, we will carry forward Professor Richardson’s legacy through our continued commitment to academic and research collaboration, innovation in teaching and learning, positive student development and transformation.