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Sir Richard Heaton appointed as next Warden

Robinson College, Cambridge, announces the appointment of Sir Richard Heaton KCB as its next Warden

Sir Richard Heaton will succeed Professor David Yates on 1 October 2021

13 May 2021: Robinson College is delighted to announce the election of Sir Richard Heaton KCB as its new Warden, following Professor David Yates’ 20 years of service in the role. Sir Richard joins Robinson after a distinguished civil service career during which he worked in departments across government, focusing particularly on justice, the constitution and human rights.

Sir Richard takes up the role of Warden at a pivotal moment in Robinson’s history, as the College prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2027. Sir Richard will help define Robinson’s agenda for the next half century and beyond, building on its pioneering roots as the first Cambridge college to be founded as co-educational, offering superb educational opportunities to all.

Sir Richard was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery from 2015 to 2020, and Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office from 2012 to 2015. He held a number of other legal and non-legal roles earlier in his career including at the Home Office, the Attorney General’s Office and the Department for Work and Pensions.  For six years Sir Richard was senior race champion for the UK civil service, promoting progression into and within the service by talented individuals from all backgrounds.

An experienced trustee and passionate supporter of the arts, Sir Richard is currently a trustee at Koestler Arts, which promotes rehabilitation through access to the arts for prisoners and those detained in the criminal justice system.

On the announcement of his election, Sir Richard said:

“Getting to know Robinson College has been a huge pleasure, and I am delighted and humbled to have been elected as its next and third Warden, following the long and immensely distinguished tenure of Professor David Yates. Robinson has a reputation for friendliness, which I have already discovered from many conversations with staff, students and Fellows to be entirely well-founded. Building on its proud and relatively short history, it is also clear that Robinson has a limitless future as a modern, academically excellent, inclusive and happy college in the Cambridge tradition.”

Professor David Yates said:

“It has been a great honour, and an enormous pleasure, to lead Robinson for the past 20 years and I am delighted to congratulate Richard on his election as Warden.”

Professor Melinda Duer, Deputy Warden of Robinson College, said:

“Richard’s experience and his obvious warmth and compassion are exactly what we need as we widen our participation and make Robinson the gold standard for diversity, inclusion and sustainability – as well as imaginative, progressive education and research. Fellows, staff and students all hugely enjoyed meeting him during our selection process and we can’t wait to welcome him properly in October.”

Representatives of the Robinson College Student Association (RCSA) and Middle Common Room (MCR) were involved in the search for Robinson’s new Warden, and commented:

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome Sir Richard Heaton as our new Warden at Robinson. He has the compassion and experience to create exciting and lasting change. We believe that Richard will proactively integrate into all aspects of College life and ensure that everyone in the Robinson community feels welcomed, supported, and included.”