Patricia Kingori, a sociologist who has been with Oxford University for eight years, made history as the youngest Black woman to receive tenure at the university.
Appointed at the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, the Kenya-born professor was offered the role “in recognition of the quality and global impact of her research on academia and beyond,” according to a statement picked up by Quartz Africa.
There are conflicting reports about her age. One outlet claims that she’s only 28 years old with another saying that she is in her early 40s.
In the 925-year history of Oxford University, Professor Kingori is the youngest woman to ever receive a full professorship, which is another glass ceiling being broken apart by Black people all across the globe. “Patricia has moved many mountains and shattered countless glass ceilings to secure this historic achievement,” said Jan Royall, the principal baroness at Oxford’s Somerville College. “In the truest tradition of Somerville, she is a woman of firsts, a trailblazer. And yet, I have no doubt that where Patricia leads with such determination, implacable good humor, and brilliance, others will follow.”
“Patricia is currently the recipient of a highly prestigious Wellcome Senior Investigator award and leads an interdisciplinary team of researchers exploring global concerns around Fakes, Fabrications, and Falsehoods in the 21st Century. She has consistently obtained large and competitive funding grants, written frequently cited and impactful publications, supervised numerous DPhil students, and taught hundreds of students during her time at Oxford,” the venerable university shared in a released statement.
Kingori acknowledged what this moment means to her, saying, “To have my body of work recognized in this way is a great honor, and I am deeply grateful to the many people who have inspired and supported me so far.” “I left friends and colleagues behind, not sure whether they were going to be OK. I didn’t want to leave, I didn’t believe what I was seeing,” she said in an interview on Wellcome’s website.
After completing her Ph.D., Kingori served as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford’s Ethox Centre. Within five years, she evolved from a research lecturer to an associate professor.
“Prof Kingori is also a fantastically enabling colleague and a gifted & visionary shaper of research agendas,” one Twitter user said in response to the announcement of Kingori’s history-making job change. “Working with her on the SI on Fakery in Africa was a career highlight and one of the most meaningful collaborations ever.” Another proud user commented: “Kenyans are pushing boundaries and breaking bounds.”