Virginia Richter to become the first female Rector at the University of Bern

The Cantonal Government has elected Virginia Richter as the new Rector of the University of Bern. She will succeed Christian Leumann as of August 1st, 2024. The full professor of English Literature has been a member of the University Executive Board as Vice-Rector for Development since 2021.

An election commission with representatives from the Senate of the University of Bern and the Directorate of Education and Culture (BKD) arranged for the election of the new Rector. The election commission was headed by Education and Culture Director Christine Häsler. On May 2nd, 2023, the University’s Senate approved the commission's proposal to the Cantonal Government to nominate Prof. Virginia Richter, Ph.D., to be elected as the new Rector of the University of Bern. The Cantonal Government elected her at its meeting on May 31st, 2023.

Posts in Munich and Göttingen

Virginia Richter has been Full Professor of Modern English Literature at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Bern since 2007. A German citizen, she earned her doctorate in General and Comparative Literature at the University of Munich, where she later also received a postdoctoral research grant. Before her appointment in Bern, she was active in research and taught as a lecturer and visiting professor in Munich and at the University of Göttingen. At the University of Bern, she has gained abundant experience in leadership positions, in particular as Director of the Department of English, as President of the Graduate School, and as Dean of her Faculty from 2014 to 2017.

First female Rector of the University founded in 1834

In 2021, at the joint request of the Senate and the BKD, the Cantonal Government elected Professor Richter to the University Executive Board, in which she has since served as Vice-Rector for Development. In this function, Richter is responsible for the areas of promotion of early career researchers, continuing education at the University, and international cooperation. She is also currently President of the Forum für Universität und Gesellschaft, dedicated to furthering the dialogue between the University and society.

Virginia Richter will be the first woman to head the University of Bern, which was founded in 1834. On August 1, 2024, she will succeed Christian Leumann, who will step down from the University Executive Board during his current term (Aug. 1, 2023, to July 31, 2027) due to age.

Source: Cantonal Government