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Rice University names Reginald DesRoches as next president

Reginald DesRoches is only the eighth new president in the university's 109-year history.

HOUSTON — There's a new head of Rice University.

Reginald DesRoches has been named the university's next president after a six-month nationwide search for an academic leader to take the place of President David Leebron, who announced in May he was stepping down after nearly two decades at the helm.

DesRoches will become the eighth president of Rice when he assumes his new position on July 1, 2022.

“I am deeply honored to be named the next president of Rice University,” DesRoches said. “The past 4½ years at Rice have been among the most rewarding in my professional career and I look forward to building on the tradition of excellence established by President Leebron and those who served before him.”

DesRoches has been with Rice since 2017. He started off as the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering at the George R. Brown School of Engineering. Leebron then appointed him as the university's provost in 2020.

"Reggie DesRoches is an outstanding choice as Rice’s next president,” Leebron said. “I have had the privilege of working closely with Reggie over the last 4½ years, first in his capacity of dean of engineering and then as provost, and observed firsthand his extraordinary leadership, values, thoughtfulness and ambition for Rice. I am confident he will fully achieve the aspirations of our ‘Be Bold’ campaign, and take Rice to new heights of achievement and impact.”

Before coming to Rice, DesRoches served as chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.  

DesRoches was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti but raised in Queens, New York. He studied at the University of California, Berkeley where he pursued his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in structural engineering at Berkeley. 

DesRoches’ wife, Paula, is the director of employee health and occupational medicine at Houston Methodist. They have three children: Andrew, Jacob and Shelby. Their daughter, Shelby, is a Rice student in the Class of ’23.

Click here to read more about DesRoches.

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