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Kenyan Patricia Kingori becomes first black woman to get Oxford University full professorship in 925-year history

By Betty Njeru | Dec 14th 2021 | 2 min read

Professor Patricia Kingori. [Courtesy]

A Kenyan woman, Patricia Kingori, has broken the glass ceiling and become one of the youngest women to be awarded a full professorship at Oxford University in its 925-year history.

Kingori is also the youngest black professor at Oxford or Cambridge universities in the United Kingdom.

Thankful of her promotion, the professor said: “To have my body of work recognised in this way is a great honour, and I am deeply grateful to the many people who have inspired and supported me so far.”

British African sociologist

According to Somerville, University of Oxford online publication, Prof Kingori is a British African sociologist based at Ethox Centre and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities in London, UK- a research centre that aims at improving ethical standards in healthcare practice and medical research.

Somerville’s Principal Baroness Jan Royall, who moved a vote of confidence in her favour, said, “Patricia has moved many mountains and shattered countless glass ceilings to secure this historic achievement. In the truest tradition of Somerville, she is a woman of firsts, a trailblazer. I have no doubt that where she leads, others will follow.”

The Senior Research Fellow has notable awards and achievements under her belt, more notably the award for historic distinction in recognition of the quality and global impact of her research on academia and beyond.

“She is currently the recipient of the prestigious Wellcome Senior Investigator award and leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers exploring global concerns around Fakes, Fabrications, and Falsehoods in global health,” Somerville highlighted.

Born in Kenya

Kingori was born in Kenya, but moved to Saint Kitts in the Caribbean as a child. She lived in the Caribbean until her teen years when she relocated to London.

She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from Royal Holloway, University of London and later worked as a research assistant at the institution. She focused her doctoral research on the ethical challenges experienced by frontline workers.

Kingori has also acted as an adviser to multiple organisations including the World Health Organization (WHO), Save the Children, Medecins San Frontieres, the Nuffield Council of Bioethics, and the Obama administration’s White House Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Africa Initiative.

In 2015, she was appointed to the Powerlist in recognition of her position as among the less than 1 per cent of Black British female academics employed by an Oxbridge institution.


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