Rice University Gets First Black Immigrant President

In Summary

Reginald DesRoches makes history after he is named the first Black immigrant to become president of Rice University. 

Rice University of Houston, Texas has named Reginald DesRoches as the first Black immigrant president. The Haiti-born president is an earthquake expert who traveled to Port-au-Prince to volunteer following the 2010 earthquake that occurred in Haiti.  

DesRoches is proud to be selected by the university’s board of trustees after their nationwide search for an academic leader to head the school.  

“I am just so honored and thrilled to be the next president of Rice and just proud, to come from where I come from,” DesRoches told Miami Herald in an interview. “It speaks volumes to the roles that universities play in transforming lives; it’s certainly transformed my life and my family’s life. I couldn’t have been prouder.” 

DesRoches is persistently breaking racial and cultural barriers by becoming the first Black Haitian in several educational positions. In 2017, he was the first Black dean at Rice where he served as the Williams and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering at the George R. Brown School of Engineering. While in his position, he expanded the school in size and program rankings. 

Chairman of the Rice Board of Trustees Robert Ladd is confident in DesRoches ability to lead as the university’s president. “We have found a leader who is inspirational and universally respected, a leader who is visionary, strategic and kind. We are proud to welcome Reginald DesRoches as our university’s next president.” 

DesRoches strongly believes that people of color and under-represented minorities have a responsibility to break these racial cultural barriers as they move up the ranks. Serving as the school’s eighth president, Rice will begin his new role July 1, 2021. 

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