President David Leebron

Message from the President

In his 1912 inaugural address, Rice University president Edgar Odell Lovett set forth an ambitious vision, proclaiming, “The new institution … aspires to university standing of the highest grade… For the present it is proposed to assign no upper limit to its educational endeavor.”

Rice has followed Lovett’s vision even as it has transformed over the years. As a leading research university with a distinctive commitment to undergraduate education, Rice continues to aspire to pathbreaking research, unsurpassed teaching and contributions to the betterment of the world.

- David W. Leebron, President

To the Rice Community

March 15, 2020

One week ago we announced we were canceling classes for this past week, and just three days ago we let you know that Rice would be moving to complete remote delivery of classes for the remainder of the spring semester. Over this past week, the situation regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has rapidly escalated across Europe and the United States. In just 24 hours from the middle of the day on Wednesday until Thursday, we witnessed a substantial change in the environment as the World Health Organization formally announced COVID-19 as a pandemic, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was closed, city and county officials announced states of emergency, and an increasing number of universities announced that spring on-campus classes would be delivered remotely and online. Most recently, the U.S. government proclaimed a National Emergency concerning COVID-19. Nearly all professional and inter-collegiate sporting events have been cancelled. Apple, Nike and others have closed their stores.

While the only case of COVID-19 in the Rice community that we are aware of is that of the employee previously announced, who I am pleased to say has recovered, we know we must continue to take drastic measures if we are both to protect those on our campus and do our part in helping prevent the further spread of this dangerous disease.  The goal across our nation at this point is to adopt strong mitigation strategies that will slow the rate that it spreads. This requires among other things that we all undertake efforts of “social distancing.” This will help ensure that the number of those infected who need serious medical attention does not reach the level that overwhelms our medical facilities. The prohibition on campus gatherings of more than 25 remains in place, although any unnecessary gatherings are discouraged.

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President’s Notes

Investing in the future, assessing the past
We see all around us the invention of the future. Much of that is in the creation of new technologies and possibilities. At Rice, Professor Jacob Robinson and his team of scientists are working toward the possibility of humans communicating thoughts directly from one human brain to another or from a human to a computer.

Read full Rice Magazine article

Spring 2020 Town Hall

Topics addressed in this March 12, 2020 Town Hall include the 2019 Elizabeth Gillis Award, Staff Service Awards, next steps with the V2C2 and more!

Archived Town Hall Meetings