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Dear Colleagues and Students,
The joyous celebration of the commencements of the classes of both 2020 and 2021 two weekends ago, with families and friends and finally visible smiles, was a welcome sign that we are beginning the return to a more normal world for our university. The last 15 months of the pandemic upset many of our expectations.
Three years ago, in the summer of 2018, I extended my agreement with the university to serve as president for four years. I contemplated that given what I thought we could accomplish, 2022 would likely be the right time to end my service as president. Of course, I did not at the time anticipate a global pandemic. Working together, we have navigated the pandemic well, and also made a great deal of progress on the goals we set prior to the pandemic. As we now enter the summer, not only is there light at the end of the tunnel, but the light seems near and bright. Thus I am writing to let you know that I informed the Board of Trustees earlier this month that this coming academic year will be my last year as president of Rice University, and I will step down at the conclusion of my 18th year, on June 30, 2022.
To many, it may seem that 18 years is an odd number, but in fact it has special significance in the two cultures that dominate my own family. In the Chinese culture it symbolizes “good fortune”, and in Jewish culture and Hebrew language it represents “life.” And certainly I could not have asked for more good fortune than to serve for a significant part of my life as Rice’s president.
I am so grateful to Rice University for this incredible opportunity and to you, the extraordinary people who make up the Rice community and who have time and again demonstrated our common values and commitment to excellence, creativity and compassion. Working together, we have been driven by our desire to contribute to the betterment of our world and by our constant ambition to become an ever better university.
There will be time enough to look back, so in this brief note I want to express my thanks, and to look forward to what we must accomplish together in the year ahead.
I want to thank our students. Your talent, creativity, engagement and care for each other has constantly inspired us to do better and to do more. You give us enormous hope and confidence for the future. There are many reasons that Rice succeeded so well in navigating the pandemic, but none more so than the responsibility exercised by our students. Indeed, my return to the classroom to teach this past semester, even if on Zoom, has sustained my admiration for our students and optimism about what they will accomplish after they graduate.
I want to thank our staff, which in so many cases has made the challenging and the difficult appear smooth and easy, and most especially during this last year. Your dedication to the work of our faculty, the learning of our students and the service we provide to our community and beyond makes the difference in what we as a university are able to achieve. Your expressions and actions of care and compassion have often been determinative in propelling a student to success.
I cannot fully express my admiration for and gratitude to our faculty. No university of our size spans such a range of endeavors with such excellence and impact. You, our faculty, constantly push the frontiers, whether in astrophysics or racial justice, architecture or computer engineering, business or biosciences, mechanical engineering or music. It was the depth and breadth of Rice endeavors that inspired my choice to join Rice just over 17 years ago, and has provided energy and inspiration along the way. And to quote from my favorite speech – President Kennedy’s 1962 moon shot speech at Rice Stadium – our faculty “in [its] quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred.”
I want to thank an extraordinary leadership team for its competence, integrity and values. Its excellence, as elsewhere in the university, has been fueled by its increasing diversity. I have also been grateful over many years for the leadership demonstrated by the Faculty Senate and by the students serving in the Student Association, Graduate Student Association and residential colleges, but never more so than this year.
Finally, our amazing experience here at Rice has been amplified by getting to know the people and institutions of the remarkable city of Houston. We are grateful and proud to have raised our family here, and to have had opportunities to work with many across Houston to contribute to the progress of our city.
All of our accomplishments as a university have been fostered by our faculty, staff and students working together with extraordinary support from our Board of Trustees, our alumni and friends of the university here in Houston and around the world.
The year ahead is an important one, with much to be accomplished that cannot be deferred. The world of higher education and knowledge is changing and expanding rapidly, and we must move forward to position ourselves for the future. In research and innovation, we will formally open the Ion innovation hub in midtown Houston and launch the Welch Institute for Advanced Materials. We will begin making the additional strategic investments recently approved by the Board of Trustees in neuro-engineering, in quantum science and engineering, in the study of disparities and inequities in our society, in environmental studies and in online education. To support our research and academic endeavors, we will begin construction of a major new science and engineering building, a new home for visual and dramatic arts, and an expansion of our architecture facilities.
We must continue the process of improving diversity and inclusion at our university, relying in part on the work of the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice. We will enter the next phase of our student enrollment expansion, and must plan and make changes for that and assure that we maintain our educational excellence and unique sense of community. We must continue our commitment to the Rice Investment so that our education is accessible to all. To fully support the increasing breadth of the Rice experience, we will begin construction on an extraordinary new center for student life and opportunity to replace the current student center. And we will also begin planning for the 12th residential college in connection with our expansion.
We will continue to increase our online offerings, which enable Rice to serve and empower new groups of students in Houston and around the world. As travel opportunities return, we will work to renew and enlarge our international engagements and outreach.
And to support all of these ambitions, we must move to the next stage of our capital campaign, which has already been crucial to many achievements in these areas.
That is a lot for one year, but all necessary as we work to position the university to continue providing the best educational opportunities and producing the most impactful research.
Ping and I are focused on and energized by the year ahead, and have not made plans beyond that. We will then look for new opportunities to learn and to contribute to our world, at Rice and elsewhere.
Again, Ping and I are so grateful for the opportunity we have had, and look forward to the exciting year ahead.
With warm regards and deepest gratitude,
David
I hope we look for someone who has worked at a high caliber school with major college sports. Focusing solely on academics with athletics being an afterthought or 'hobby' is not who we are as a university and doesn't reflect Houston or Texas. It is arguably harder to be 'academically elite' at a larger state institution than it is at a small boutique University.
(05-26-2021 11:15 AM)Hambone10 Wrote: [ -> ]I hope we look for someone who has worked at a high caliber school with major college sports. Focusing solely on academics with athletics being an afterthought or 'hobby' is not who we are as a university and doesn't reflect Houston or Texas. It is arguably harder to be 'academically elite' at a larger state institution than it is at a small boutique University.

Preach brother.

Can we unite these two threads?
I'm ecstatic. This is a major opportunity for Rice University. It's time to bring in a president who sees the value that highly competitive sports programs bring to a university.

Everyone who participates in this thread today is getting points from me, even if I don't like you. Jump in. Come one, come all.
This is fantastic news. Let's hope everything really goes in threes...
(05-26-2021 11:20 AM)Ourland Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 11:15 AM)Hambone10 Wrote: [ -> ]I hope we look for someone who has worked at a high caliber school with major college sports. Focusing solely on academics with athletics being an afterthought or 'hobby' is not who we are as a university and doesn't reflect Houston or Texas. It is arguably harder to be 'academically elite' at a larger state institution than it is at a small boutique University.

Preach brother.

Can we unite these two threads?

I've tried... isn't working for some reason.

I think its because the system doesn't trust Thrill!! lol
(05-26-2021 11:54 AM)Hambone10 Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 11:20 AM)Ourland Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 11:15 AM)Hambone10 Wrote: [ -> ]I hope we look for someone who has worked at a high caliber school with major college sports. Focusing solely on academics with athletics being an afterthought or 'hobby' is not who we are as a university and doesn't reflect Houston or Texas. It is arguably harder to be 'academically elite' at a larger state institution than it is at a small boutique University.

Preach brother.

Can we unite these two threads?

I've tried... isn't working for some reason.

I think its because the system doesn't trust Thrill!! lol

I think you're right!
We should pursue Condoleezza Rice.

Sports fan, great musician (Rice is trying to become the number 1 music school in the country), and last name fits.
I actually think our current provost, Reggie Desroches, would be great. At least from an Athletics perspective...


“In 2014, he became Georgia Tech’s Faculty Athletics Representative,[31] serving as the liaison between the Institute and the Athletics Association. As Faculty Athletics Representative, he worked closely with the Athletic Director and university leadership — including the president, provost, and senior vice provost for academic affairs — to formulate policies affecting intercollegiate athletics on campus. His responsibilities also include representing the Institute to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He was appointed to the ACC leadership team as vice president of the conference for 2016-2017.“

His daughter also plays soccer at Rice.
(05-26-2021 12:13 PM)peanutgallery Wrote: [ -> ]We should pursue Condoleezza Rice.

Sports fan, great musician (Rice is trying to become the number 1 music school in the country), and last name fits.

It won’t be any one who isn’t Ivy League and way to the left.
(05-26-2021 12:13 PM)peanutgallery Wrote: [ -> ]We should pursue Condoleezza Rice.

Sports fan, great musician (Rice is trying to become the number 1 music school in the country), and last name fits.

...sort of in the tradition of our second president (and tied with Norman Hackerman for third longest-serving), William V. Houston -- although he was faced with the particular challenge that his name was pronounced HOUSE-ton. Man, that must gotten old!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_V._Houston
(05-26-2021 12:22 PM)Frizzy Owl Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 12:13 PM)peanutgallery Wrote: [ -> ]We should pursue Condoleezza Rice.

Sports fan, great musician (Rice is trying to become the number 1 music school in the country), and last name fits.

It won’t be any one who isn’t Ivy League and way to the left.

This is sadly true. Why, I have no idea. You just eliminate highly qualified individuals based on nothing more than political ideology. If you lean right or a centrist we (Rice) don't want you. We would rather have leftist incompetence. Just curious if it has always been that way at Rice or did it shift the last decade or so.
So who/what group selects the new President? That should tell us a lot about what is being sought in a replacement.
(05-26-2021 12:46 PM)Musicowl1965 Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 12:22 PM)Frizzy Owl Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 12:13 PM)peanutgallery Wrote: [ -> ]We should pursue Condoleezza Rice.

Sports fan, great musician (Rice is trying to become the number 1 music school in the country), and last name fits.

It won’t be any one who isn’t Ivy League and way to the left.

This is sadly true. Why, I have no idea. You just eliminate highly qualified individuals based on nothing more than political ideology. If you lean right or a centrist we (Rice) don't want you. We would rather have leftist incompetence. Just curious if it has always been that way at Rice or did it shift the last decade or so.

During my time on campus (mid-70s), I’d describe the campus as primarily apolitical. Of course there were folks on both fringes, but they were a small minority. Most people just seemed concerned with their studies and/or having a good time.
(05-26-2021 01:08 PM)Tomball Owl Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 12:46 PM)Musicowl1965 Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 12:22 PM)Frizzy Owl Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-26-2021 12:13 PM)peanutgallery Wrote: [ -> ]We should pursue Condoleezza Rice.

Sports fan, great musician (Rice is trying to become the number 1 music school in the country), and last name fits.

It won’t be any one who isn’t Ivy League and way to the left.

This is sadly true. Why, I have no idea. You just eliminate highly qualified individuals based on nothing more than political ideology. If you lean right or a centrist we (Rice) don't want you. We would rather have leftist incompetence. Just curious if it has always been that way at Rice or did it shift the last decade or so.

During my time on campus (mid-70s), I’d describe the campus as primarily apolitical. Of course there were folks on both fringes, but they were a small minority. Most people just seemed concerned with their studies and/or having a good time.

As it should be!!! Free expression of ideas is generally not tolerated these past few years (not just at Rice) from what I've been told and can/has had negative impact on grades. Professors (not all) cannot seem to compartmentalize their ideology away from the subject matter.

Sorry to get political hear but I do feel Leebron's ideology did have an affect on the culture. FYI, I would have the same issue if to far right as well.
This guy has generally been a disaster for the U.
Need someone who cares about Texas and Texas citizens first,
cares about Americans and American citizens second,
cares about college sports and wants to compete
doesn't give a flip about Communist China and acts like it,
returns the school to being one of the best values in higher education,
instead of in far-left overpriced indoctrination.
But...I'm not holding my breath on any of those actualy happening.
(05-26-2021 12:18 PM)ExcitedOwl18 Wrote: [ -> ]I actually think our current provost, Reggie Desroches, would be great. At least from an Athletics perspective...


“In 2014, he became Georgia Tech’s Faculty Athletics Representative,[31] serving as the liaison between the Institute and the Athletics Association. As Faculty Athletics Representative, he worked closely with the Athletic Director and university leadership — including the president, provost, and senior vice provost for academic affairs — to formulate policies affecting intercollegiate athletics on campus. His responsibilities also include representing the Institute to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He was appointed to the ACC leadership team as vice president of the conference for 2016-2017.“

His daughter also plays soccer at Rice.

That's a good pick, IMO. I also wonder how Leebron leaving impacts Karlgaard. From a few posts I've read, it appears his contract will be extended through the end of next school year, but with a new president coming on, who knows what will happen after that.
Reggie is an impressive person for sure. I don't know him well at all, but he impressed me in our short visit.
The characterization of Leebron as a "general disaster" for Rice is absurd.

During his tenure Rice has continually improved the facilities on campus (including athletic facilities such as the track/soccer stadium, Tudor Fieldhouse, Gibbs Recreation Center, improvement to Reckling Park and construction of the Patterson Center at the football stadium). Generally Rice has constructed the BRC, regained control of the vast majority of retail center in the Village, acquired and constructed the ION, constructed new buildings on campus including the social sciences building, the Opera House, and new buildings for the sciences.

The announcement of the Rice Investment is a game-changer for many of the students who are currently attending Rice and who will attend in the future. Just talk to a couple of current students and get their read on the effect of the Rice Investment. It has been a major step forward in making a Rice education available to a vast new segment of society and it moves Rice forward in competition with many of its peers.

I was present when he first discussed the "merger" with BCM. I think he stopped the process out of an abundance of caution when it appeared that the deal could have really been a financial disaster for Rice. As for professional schools, his vision is for Rice to have a law school and/or a medical schools that is on a par with the current position of the school and that such a professional school could require an investments of in excess $1B.

When Malcom Gillis became President of Rice, we were competing the SWC..when he left we were in the WAC and headed to C-USA. Leebron didn't bring us to a current situation.

I think it's time for a change and a new face in the President's Office can be beneficial to the athletic department but let's not trash David when he did a lot of good things for the University. It is time for the athletic department to step forward and propose a concrete plan for the next 10-25 years and let's see what happens.
Ding, dong ....

Now, among other things, we can do the right thing and stop the flow of "students" from Communist China.

With respect to athletics, should Rice (as is likely) get someone from the Ivy League, absolutely nothing will change. Nothing good, that is.
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