Professor Kathy Willis elected new Principal of St Edmund Hall

The Governing Body of St Edmund Hall is delighted to announce the election of Professor Katherine Willis as Principal to succeed Professor Keith Gull on 1 October 2018.

Professor Kathy Willis has been Director of Science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, since October 2013 where she has overseen the co-ordination of Kew’s scientists, collections and associated research activities and partnerships. During this period she re-organised the structure of the scientific workforce at Kew, creating 7 new departments. She also led the development of Kew’s first ever Science Strategy and alongside this, launched a number of substantial new scientific outputs. 

Before taking up her position at Kew, Kathy held the Tasso Leventis Chair in Biodiversity at the department of Zoology, University of Oxford, and Head of the Oxford Long-term Ecology Laboratory along with a Professorial Fellowship at Merton College. Previously she was a tutorial fellow at Jesus College (2003-2010) and St Hugh’s College (1999-2003). Kathy’s original degree was in Environmental Science from the University of Southampton. She then undertook a PhD in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge. She remained in Cambridge (1989-1999) first as a Junior Research Fellow at Selwyn College, followed by an NERC Fellowship and then as a Royal Society University Research Fellow which she held in conjunction with the position of Director of Studies for Biological Sciences in Selwyn College.

Head of Department, Professor Ben Sheldon, notes: "Kathy’s return to Oxford will include a formal part time appointment, continuing in her role as Professor of Biodiversity, in this department. I am sure you will all share my pleasure at the knowledge that Kathy will be spending more time in Oxford, where she will be able to bring to bear the considerable experience she has accrued while at Kew in developing research and in advising the department at such an exciting time in its development."

Kathy greatly looks forward to meeting the alumni, Fellows, students and staff of St Edmund Hall in October and building further the Hall’s strength as a vibrant, forward-looking, diverse and inclusive society that strives for excellence in all that it does.

Read the full release here.