Richard Riddell

Vice President and University Secretary

Richard Riddell is vice president and university secretary, serving as secretary to the Board of Trustees and functioning as chief of staff to the president.

Among his responsibilities are leading the preparation of board meetings, coordinating projects involving the president and senior officers, advising the president on a broad range of issues, managing the finances of the Office of the President, and overseeing the Office of Special Events and University Ceremonies.  

Previously, Riddell served as special assistant to the provost, where he managed university-wide interdisciplinary programs, advised on the arts and humanities, and served as a member of a working group that assisted the provost in developing the university’s strategic plan.

Riddell is the Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Professor of the Practice in Theater Studies. Before coming to Duke in 1992 to lead the then Drama Program and now Department of Theater Studies, he was an administrator and faculty member at Harvard University (1987-1992) and the University of California, San Diego (1978-1987).

He is a professional lighting and scene designer, receiving the Tony Award in 1985 for excellence in lighting design ("Big River"). Riddell received his bachelor's degree from Knox College in Illinois, where he is now a trustee, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University.