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The Aola Mary Richards Fund

We are delighted to report that the Department has received a legacy of £5 million from Dr Aola Richards (1927 – 2021) that will provide an endowment to support PhD studentships and postdoctoral Fellowships in Zoology. Dr Richards, an international expert on wetas and ladybirds, was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in biology in her native country, New Zealand, where she once spent 7 weeks underground in a cave in total darkness with only cave crickets and water rats for company. Her legacy will enable young scientists to carry out research in the Department, a dream that she was unable to realise at the outset of her own career.

After retirement to London, conveniently close to The Royal Opera House, Aola made contact with Professor Malcolm Burrows and donated part of her insect collection to the University Museum of Zoology. She kept in touch with Malcom and the Department until her death in 2021.